Missoula’s Tiny Plastic Stars has released an audio cassette of their eight-song album, Sleepy Eyes (available as a download, too). Their Facebook page calls the folk-flavored originals by Riley Roberts, tricked out by electronics, “psych-rock-pop.”
The power trio features Roberts on guitar and vocals, Dan Miller on drums, and Josh Bacha on bass. There are interludes of biting rock riffs and sustained, plaintive vocals, underpinned by steadfast rhythm. Their style at times recalls the “acid rock” days of bands like It’s a Beautiful Day; it has the same haunting feel that meshes the power and emotion of pounding rock with the slow sensuality of ballads.
Roberts’s outstanding tenor, modified by FX, sails ethereally over great gobs of pretty metallic rock and airtight percussion. It’s expressive and poignant, melancholic and wistful, “a sweet nostalgia,” as they call it.
The first track, “Swam the Ocean,” opens with wacky, reverb-y guitars and screaming Roberts vocals; it sounds like a teen John Lennon singing in a bowl of jelly. Ver-rry in-ter-esting!
In ”Pretty Well and Waisted,” slowly climbing chords, drone-like, mesh with Roberts’s high, lingering vocals. “We were wasting our time, soakin’ up the moonlight, sittin’ on the roadside …” is repeated like a mantra. Cool modulations here, and the singer’s voice is mesmerizing.
“Pipedream” starts with thick minor chords, crashing cymbals and a cool drum beat. Then Roberts enters, as if sleepwalking. “You bring light to nighttime … hold me here for a lifetime …” The guitar break gets syrupy, and time seems to go into slow-motion. Woo!
The group has opened for many touring bands, and in fact has been touring this summer on the heels of the new album. Have a listen.
Visit them at Facebook.com/tinyplasticstars.
– Mariss McTucker