To an untrained ear, new soulful rock ‘n’ roll band Alexandra and the Starlight Band may be easy to misunderstand on a first impression. However, rock ‘n’ soul “powerhouse” Alexandra Starlight, who started her career in L.A.’s punk scene as a guitarist, has found a way to gracefully combine an interesting variety of musical genres in her latest solo release — from R&B; to jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and gospel.
Each song in Starlight’s self-titled five-song EP, as it transports listeners back to the sound of the 1970s, differs on a grand scale — mimicking the roughness of Janis Joplin in “T.T.M.F.,” producing a very jazzy Amy Winehouse-inspired sound in “Shine Like A Star,” and following in the footsteps of Joss Stone’s emotional style in “Didn’t Your Mama Tell You?”
The combination of saxophone, trumpet and trombone give Starlight’s work its jazz undertones and, when combined with the organ’s gospel sound, Alexandra and the Starlight Band’s overall style is reminiscent of The Animals’s stylistic approach with song variety and interesting combinations of instruments and sound.
However, at times, Starlight’s EP seems to cover too much musical ground, leaving the listener trying to decide whether a song is meticulously put together to combine a plethora of genres, or whether Starlight has pushed her creativity too far by jam-packing songs with too many aspects that may not quite fit together.
Praised by Guitar World Magazine as bringing an “uncompromising spin on rock ‘n’ roll with the swagger of a thousand men,” Starlight is a performer who prides herself on being real with listeners and providing a tone that is relatable — all while rocking self-made stage looks of all things glamorous, dazzling and rhinestones.
Whether it’s pouring whiskey on her face during a performance or jumping onto diners’ tables and drinking their wine, Starlight’s sassy stage antics and sound have not only caught the eye of crowd members, but also the ears of big names in the music business — names like Bob Cutarella, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Madonna, Joss Stone and Alice Cooper.
Simple, soulful lyrics and a smooth and smoky sound make the concept behind Alexandra and the Starlight Band something that can be appreciated, even if it does not necessarily appeal to a listener’s taste. Plus, with Starlight’s on-stage persona, it’s difficult to find nothing in Alexandra and the Starlight Band that at the very least sparks some intrigue.
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