Together with Wim van den Heuvel (bass) and Raf de Backer (drums), songwriter and singer/guitar player Nico Jacobs makes up the core of Star Club West. Their first EP ‘This is Howie’ was recorded on a low budget with a little help from friends like Elko Blijweert (Dead Man Ray), Tim Coenen (Admiral Freebee) and sound engineer Glenda Langue. This resulted in a tender record with dreamy instrumental passages as well as light-noisy escapades. The Critics loved ( J ) the record and Star Club West played a few times to support My Morning Jacket and Frank Black, and went on a mini-tour in Germany with Wolf Colonel.
About their first record: ‘Star Club West display a penchant for languidly delivered vocals, piano-tinged ballads, melancholic lyrics, and guitars that gently weep. They have plenty to recommend them, from melodic opener 'Fragment Drop', interspersed with short bursts of distorted guitar, to 'Enjoying the Elbow Room', the acoustic soother that closes the album. Instrumentally, 'Stereo Design' has its feet firmly rooted in Pavement territory, yet with a decidedly un-Pavement-like level of lyrical clarity, evinced by the opening line "This is the sound of a broken wing in a crash." The same emotional frankness can be heard on 'How Nice You Drop By', which is sweetly reminiscent of the original 1974 version of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'. Star Club West exist in the twilight zone that lies somewhere between evening and night, an all too brief period of time that brings with it a sensation of tranquillity and calm’ by TJ Hatton for Kinda Music Meanwhile, their second album – Oh dry blue menthol – is ready. On this record Elko Blijweert, Rudy Trouvé (o.a. Dead Man Ray), Joris Caluwaerts (Franco Saint de Backer) and Sigrid van Roosendael (Lionel Horowitz) also play along. This time, the band went to a studio to record the album, which made their sound even richer. It was recorded and mixed November 2001. Patrick Delabie and Glenda Langue handled all the technical stuff and Rudy, Elko and Star Club West produced it.
Oh dry blue menthol is a subtle, sensitive record. Thanks to variation in song structure, atmosphere and arrangements, the record reveals new things,every time you listen to it. It is like listening to melancholy translated into melodies supported by a relaxed rhythm section. Sometimes, the record will remind you of the noisy exploits of the early Yo la Tengo, the cosiness of Pavement, the modesty of Palace and Spain or the sweet jazz of Chet Baker. Songs that gently ride the indie sound of the nineties (Matador, City Slang en Domino). Countrypop, rich and subtly arranged by adding an almost silent touch of piano now and then, an expressive lyric or a careful stroke of drums. Everything to serve the right atmosphere, the atmosphere to serve your ears.
Their third album 'Number Why' takes you back to the heydays of indierock (think Matador, City Slang). Pure and unpolished popsongs (think Pavement, The Shins) get immersed in guitarambient (think Yo La Tengo), indietronix (think Notwist), altcountry-stylings (think Wilco) or laidback jazz (think Chet Baker). . In It all happens on 'Number Why', but well dosed. In the end, 'Number Why' is a solid collection of dreamy laidback popsongs to hum along, but adventurous enough to keep Star Club West away from chartsucces. You can listen to albumopener Don't Go on.
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