Brain power

Chinese Stars push the limits of decency and reason
By BOB GULLA  |  October 24, 2007

“After a Heart of Darkness-like journey down the River of Insanity,” writes Craig Kureck of the Chinese Stars, “we’ve managed to produce a new album called Listen to Your Left Brain.” It goes without saying that nearly everything this band does comes after exacting a heavy psychic toll. This one, their second album, came after two years of arduous creationism. “It has resulted in a shattered group of people but a tremendous leap forward in songwriting,” he writes. Recorded at Machines with Magnets, the band found Keith Souza and Seth Manchester to be the balm they needed to soothe such a savage beast. The engineers helped the Stars focus. “It was like we had been waiting for them and they for us,” writes Kureck. “We pushed them well past the limits of decency and reason, and they in turn indulged us and helped to focus our energy into fully realizing these songs.”
Left Brain is fully realized. It’s a brittle, pulsating blast of right-angled synth rock, somewhere between Public Image and Gang of Four, all sneering and robotic in a groovacious sort of way, as if someone shined a strobe on the band and recorded them breakdancing. At the core of the Stars’ sound is its unique instrumental melange, headed up by singer Eric Paul and flanked by the nagging guitar lines of Paul Viera, Rick Pelletier’s bass/synths, (the band has since added V. Von Ricci of Mahi Mahi on bass), and Kureck’s primal drumming. The result is an effective fusion of style and attitude. Tunes like the dramatic “Shake of the Nurse,” the sublime “Left Brain” (with its chorus “Don’t listen to your left brain, don’t listen to the right/Just listen to your body, when you’re out on Friday night”), and the maniacal “All My Friends Are Getting High” are savage crystallizations of the Chinese Stars approach. “Teeth Marks” has a slight dub sound on Pelletier’s bass — until Viera butts in with a brilliantly disruptive guitar line.
The band has plans to bust a groove on the road. The record release party will be their first show in Providence in ages, so maybe they’ll give away some of their secrets then. “We’re looking at it like the beginning of our next chapter,” writes Kureck, “releasing the record and releasing the new band into the wild at the same time.”

Chinese Stars + Aids Wolf + Old Time Relijun + Made In Mexico + Tinsel Teeth | October 27 | AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence | 8 pm | $8 | 401.831.9327 |

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