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6.9/10 Avi
 

STAR FK RADIUM - Blue Siberia - CD - Star FK Radium - 2010

review by: Avi Shaked

Star FK Radium is an acoustic, instrumental trio (violin, guitar and drums) playing a fusion of rock with classical music. "Progressive rock," you may think? Well, think again! This debut, independent release has almost nothing to do with progressive rock, as Star FK Radium's vision is much more basic and unpretentious: Instead of evolving, epic pieces, they play catchy pieces (or vocal-less songs, if you'd like), remaining accessible and compelling throughout. The focus is on beauty and melody, rather than on sophistication or experimentation.

And there's indeed a lot of classy beauty on Blue Siberia. However, the overall result is uneven. In fact, the album starts off on the wrong foot, with the title track showcasing the violin as a lead voice to a rather delicate support of guitar and drums, sounding a bit like background music (bordering with kitsch, some might argue). "Training Wheels" follows in the same direction, until midway into the track, where a slightly forced transition drives it into rockier territories.

Most of the following tracks mark an improvement, especially whenever the violin is not the sole, lead voice. "Karmara," for example, has a hypnotic, lyrical appeal, and "Speedbike" offers powerful, driving guitars (a vibe not to be taken lightheadedly, given that the music is purely acoustic). The mini-suite "Chasing the Sun" finds the violin sharing center stage with the drums, and later with the guitar, to a fascinating effect: We would definitely love to hear more integrative compositions such as this carried out by Star FK Radium in the future!

The album sounds professionally crisp, but there are some flaws evident in the playing (most likely the band had limited studio time, with no label to support it). Hopefully, the band's next album will be under the sponsorship of a record company, which would allow them all the time they need as well as a guiding hand of a slightly more experimental producer who can spike the music with more edge (may we suggest Steve Albini?!). (6.9/10)

 

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