Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
St. Louis is thriving with talented musicians. From Mississippi
Nights to the Creepy Crawl, there are local bands performing everywhere
and all the time.
Considering this, it should come as no surprise that some of
the local talent walks amongst the students at UM-St. Louis. Jaclyn
Mayer (sophomore, music business) and Dustin Keller (freshman,
graphic design) are two members of Seven Star, a local band with
a lot to offer. Mayer, who plays bass guitar, and Keller, acoustic
and electric guitars, are joined by Grant Essig (lead vocals and
acoustic guitar), Eric Cooper (electric guitar and backing vocals)
and Jeremiah Miller (drums and backing vocals) to create the energetic
and upbeat rock album "Superstar Wraparound."
This six track CD offers a sound that blends the fun, simple
beats of Better than Ezra with the acoustic and vocal goodness
of Dispatch. The music never sounds strained or forced, which
provides the listener with a feeling of easy-going delight. The
band also has the ability to perform as an ensemble, rather than
rely on one star talent, which seems to be a rarer and rarer quality
in modern music. Each instrument and talent is woven together
to achieve a strong composition, not just fluff like many bands.
Though all members of Seven Star are obviously talented, the
lead vocals will prove to be a unique asset. Essig sings very
naturally with a smooth breathiness that will help Seven Star
transcend many other local sounds. While it would seem there are
tons of "vocalists" out there, finding one with a unique
style and so much natural talent is not easy. Essig should help
the band attract attention from music fans looking for something
"Market Street" and "Over the Moon" are songs
with a light acoustic rock sound to them, highlighting the guitars
and vocals. "Break on Out" goes back and forth from
gentle vocals and light guitar strumming to more intensive rocking,
heavy on talent from all members. "Blue" and "Push"
are both fun and energetic songs that make fingers and toes tap
While these songs do have that upbeat edge that makes the album
easy to listen to, they also have a little too much in common.
The sounds get slightly monotonous and, once listened to, become
a little bland. The exception is the song "Typical,"
which I felt to be the strongest song on "Superstar Wraparound."
This track mixed the right amount of laid-back bass, perky drumbeats,
rock-out guitars and delicious vocals. There is an especially
good section in the second half of the song that makes a valuable
contribution to the standout sound. "Typical" is just
the spice needed on this otherwise mild album.
Any St. Louis resident who wants to support our fast-growing
music scene should check out Seven Star. For those interested,
I highly recommend the web site www.sevenstarmusic.com, one of
the best local band web sites I have seen. There, one can find
information on upcoming shows, look at pictures of the band performing
and entertaining, read Seven Star cartoons and listen to some
songs. With a little sound expansion, Seven Star has the talent
to be a rising star in the local music scene. We should enjoy
them while they are still close to home.