Past Perfect

Photo by Matt Otto THE STARVATIONS

The Starvations are everything you can't be; everything that can't happen anymore. They're the sound of the past century of music, but not a silly caricature; they're an encapsulation of much of the best that's come before them, without sounding stale or contrived—Los Angeles' X did the same thing. The guitars are a convertible '63 Cadillac driving down a lonely Texas highway, the drums are a Louisiana bayou wedding, the vocals are the wail of a thousand broken hearts, and none of it is a shoeless guy in a giant pompadour and overalls pretending it's still 1957. The seven songs on these two releases are hollow-bodied guitar, roots-aware punk with a mournful lyrical bent: songs such as "Last Night I Had a Nightmare We Got Married" and "Maintaining My Grave" are pretty self-explanatory, right? Touches of American and European folk creep in on a few songs (they've got harmonica and accordion hand in hand with the solid rock & roll guitar/bass/drums), and while the Starvations seem incapable of escaping comparisons to the Gun Club, they've arrived at that musical territory all on their own, instead of just copycatting. The Starvations are a punk band at heart in the best sense of the phrase. They're punk in the way the Minutemen were punk: acknowledge the music of the past, and then turn it into something new.


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