Birds & Arrows' Starmaker | Album of the Month | Indy Week
Pin It

Birds & Arrows' Starmaker 

(307 Knox Records)

  Listen up!   If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player.

⇒ Read also: Our feature story on the band, "Birds & Arrows sing their life and love onto the new Starmaker"

click to enlarge starmaker-web.jpg

Starmaker, the full-length debut from young duo Birds & Arrows, plays like a scrapbook that chronicles the love and lives of husband and wife Pete and Andrea Connolly. Both the album art and songs are deeply personal, edging on voyeuristic at times, but offering a sort of universal truth for their intimacy. On the title track, Andrea and Pete sing in unison, identifying God as the "starmaker" who pushes a pin through black paper like on a schoolchild's art project. By casting God as the craft artist, the Connollys afford themselves the power to create their own world, one of instant nostalgia and familiarity, not unlike the best of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Artwork of Native Americans and spaceships collides with lyrics about traveling and love. Birds & Arrows' domain is strange and beautiful, full of wide-eyed wonder.

On "Honeymoon Song," they describe a broad and encompassing world, singing, "In a place so old with a life so new, it was all." Still, Andrea picks out minute details, like stopping the car every few miles because it was smoking. The specificity paints an intimate portrait, offering an inlet into the couple's private life. Andrea's strummed guitar begins the track, which grows in layers—cello, piano and pedal steel as ornaments, then Pete's simple tribal drumming on tom-toms. Add all the sounds in the world, though, and the excitement in "Honeymoon Song" stems from the palpable connection between the couple. Pete joins Andrea on harmony vocals, helping lift the line, "It was all," into "It was always you."

The singing throughout Starmaker is fantastic. Andrea's voice is clear, full and stunning, seemingly designed for melancholic anthems and slow-burning love songs. With sand on his vocal chords, Pete delivers lyrics with a rootsy, quiet confidence that balances Andrea in an unexpectedly appealing way. He even tackles lead vocals on a few songs, including "Monkey Brother," a song about his estranged adopted brother who died last year.

While the band is essentially a guitar-drums duo, "Ripe and Ruptured" features Latin-inspired claves and ooh-la-las. Coldplay could even cover "Company Keep." The music refuses to stand still, mirroring the album's uniting motif of drives—or, more generally, movement and progression. The theme comes to fruition on "Daisy Renee," a joyous country ode to an old car. "Send her home," the Connollys call together, echoing Tom Waits and Neil Young's old-world automobile nostalgia. The '64 Oldsmobile can be imagined heading off into the glowing sunset.

Primal and passionate, expectant and hopeful, Birds & Arrows' Starmaker is a Victorian curio cabinet filled with personal moments and universal emotions.

Birds & Arrows releases Starmaker Saturday, Oct. 10, with a show at Local 506. The Never and Mt. Moriah open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.

Latest in Album of the Month


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Album of the Month

Twitter Activity


Thanks for explain chaz . i really like and Damn! need it. Is this only provided in Bull city only …

by thaman1 on Des Ark's Live on WXDU: Volume Two (Album of the Month)

Excellent, excellent review. Really: great job.

by tqvc on Horseback's The Invisible Mountain (Album of the Month)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation