Utilizing layers of synthesizers, while still giving guitars an ample amount of spotlight, William Steffey’s Roadstar is an intriguing musical montage that conjures up the feel of a late night drive through the city, bright lights reflecting down on the windshield and off of the dashboard. Occasional diversions to pure guitar rock, like “Grow Crazy” remain steeped in a sexual vibe that permeates the remainder. “She was great at sex, but she never gave me subtext,” Steffey laments. Much of the lyrical content shares this same feel of directness, while being more obscure upon inspection. Creating the entire effort on his own, Steffey does well to fabricate an ensemble feel. The closest comparison seems to be to The The. In fact, it would be easy to say that if you enjoy Matt Johnson’s work in that band, you would surely want to check out Roadstar.

Roadstar never really launches into the stratosphere with aggression or hooks, but that hardly seems to be the point. Songs like “Traci Seems” roll by like wisps of mist in the black of night, as with much of the album. Noting this, it seems peculiar to find a pop gem like “City Of Heroes” stuck right in the middle of the affair. Taken alone, this song is an instant winner, but its bubblegum feel sticks out like a sore thumb next to the more sophisticated, worldly club feel of the rest of the songs.

Not for everyone, Roadstar is definitely for some. Perhaps for those that find themselves constantly doing the late-night drive across the city after a hectic evening exploring the nightlife. —

-Todd Hanssen

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