Scream From New York by Been Stellar album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions. The band's debut LP is now out via Dirty Hit


Scream From New York

Been Stellar

“I have the answer / for a little while,” Been Stellar’s Sam Slocum sings towards the end of their debut record, Scream From New York, NY. It might be about how fleeting the peace of understanding lasts in a chaotic world. Or it might be the brief feeling of being in just the right place at the right time, at a show, perhaps, being played by one of your favorite bands. Or it might be the brevity of time in the spotlight, Been Stellar having successfully opened for the likes of Fontaines D.C. and their label mates, The 1975, in recent time: any burgeoning band’s hopeful ambition.

Whatever their lyrics mean to you, they most certainly mean something different to the band. It is open-ended poetry and emo-tinged alternative rock. Slocum’s somewhat deadpan vocals and the band’s searing guitars remind me a good deal of one of my favorite finds in recent times, The Murder Capital, though this album was a tribute to older bands like Sonic Youth and Interpol.

“All I want, all I want / All in one,” they sing on the five-minute driving song of the same name. It recalls the phraseology of marketing, all-in-one stop shop, all-in-one shampoo and conditioner, but perhaps it has to do with the desire for unity, the complexity that is wrapped up in one human being, the desire for a mate or the sufficiency of God.

They’ve shared some back story to some of their songs in interviews. Like the song, “Sweet,” easily my favorite song on the album, which is about when you’re in a close relationship, and the purest moments don’t need to be spoken about. “We’re speaking when we don’t know what to say.” Or the satisfying second number “Passing Judgment,” which was written while they were touring, which they say is about how passing judgment is usually rooted in being unsure in oneself.

It makes sense, that a band with such mysterious lyrics would cause you to do some digging. And it makes sense, that a band with such a passionate approach to playing and singing, would be getting something of a following. The album is something of a rumination on whether the indie rock star can save a troubled city, like NYC, can still be something of a hero in our desperate times. “New York is wasted / start again.” They’re starting in a good place, with this album of diverse post-rock tracks with a heart.

order Scream From New York HERE


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