With soaring guitars, wonderful drum work and impactful lyrics, Philly’s Stellarscope hits a few high marks with their new album, “Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost,” but issues with production hold it back from being as dominant a force as it could be.
As a band, Stellarscope is tight. Bob Forman on drums is a master. From slower beats that set the tone to powerful banging on other tracks, he’s multi-faceted and proficient. Tom Lugo gets it done on bass with supporting tones that complement the drums and guitar almost perfectly at times. Lugo’s guitar work is also great, making the band feel like The Bravery.
The only problem is the overproduced nature of the vocals. Lugo has a capable voice, but the echo on virtually all the tracks makes it a lot less clear than it should. With the drums and guitar and bass working so hard, the vocals almost take a backseat when they need to be in the front seat. As a result, many of the tracks don’t resonate nearly as much as they should, with “Only Strangers Know” being a prime example.
“For You” is easily the best track on the album because it’s the song that combines everything from Forman’s drums and Lugo’s excellent string work together, as well as his voice in as clear and smooth a representation as possible. It tells a wonderful story and one that can make you comfortably numb. It’s the type of track you could see in a horror flick or a drama where someone is sinking away into an abyss. It’s that powerful.
With all of these pieces in place, Stellarscope is a solid producer of tunes and one big song away from being on the radio and a national tour. As of right now, however, they’re still a little rough around the edges in spite of everything they managed to do so right on this album.