Rock,Star - Inamorato (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Inamorato (2007)

Black Numbers

I'll admit even I have gotten a smug bastard smirk or two out of all the bands with punctuation in their names that have popped up over the past handful of years. I'll even concede that when I saw the name Rock,Star I did one of these smile/cringe moves, but after hearing the band you see how important that little comma is. Much like Jawbreaker, the essence of the band is revealed in their name: They play a relatively hard (Rock), yet bright and shimmery (Star) brand of punk rock. Although not that far removed from fellow New Brunswick natives Lifetime, Rock,Star's sound is much more directly indebted to later-era Hüsker Dü and early Samiam.

Initially a sort of carefree nature can be assumed of songs like "Forget It," but underlying bright sentiments like "do you ever listen to those tapes when we used to rock 'n' roll summer days away," there are pangs of sadness like "Do you remember? 'Cuz I'm trying to forget." I would still call this song "bright" due to the overall lack of anger -- Virginia Woolf would be proud.

While Rock,Star are undeniably a melodic band, I wouldn't classify them as your average pop-punk band since there is a great deal of variety to be found with Inamorato. The band shifts from Mouldian excursions in "Trading Cards," brisk popcore in "Fingernails" and even almost Ramones-like hop in "Carnival." I've done a lot of namedropping in this review but it doesn't go unwarranted and it isn't to say the band is without its own identity. What's rather striking about this release is while the songs seem to reveal so much of their influences, the band executes them in such a way that seems completely authentic and their own. When they do explore their own territory with some risky vocal inflections in "Broken Heart Collective" and "Nerve," it is startling but mostly successful.

Considering the songs found here were recorded seven years ago, they end up sounding as fresh as the day they were put to tape (or data?). This is mostly thanks to Rock,Star's deep sense of melody and passionate playing that you can tell it is being made by a group of people that love doing what they do. It is refreshing when a band is exactly what they present themselves to be. The only major downside of this album is it is far too short with nine songs, and we are left without a lyric booklet. If such a thing were to have ever existed, I'd call this album a true comfort record.