Album Mini-review: Starling Electric — Electric Company
File next to: Pete Yorn, Bob Pollard, Bob Mould
In 2008, Michigan’s Starling Electric released Clouded Staircase, one of the best albums of that decade, and one that almost nobody heard. The original songs combined the best qualities of Guided by Voices‘ Anglophile rock with vocal and arrangement prowess that encouraged positive comparisons with Brian Wilson‘s baroque-rock masterpiece Pet Sounds. The record earned critical praise, but otherwise went unnoticed, stiffed, and the band disappeared … for years. But out of the spotlight, songwriter/leader Caleb Dillon kept right on writing and recording. Around 2014 he finished what would become Electric Company, the cream of nearly a decade’s worth of home studio woodshedding. Finally released (digital-only) in 2016, Electric Company is a worthy successor to the first disc. Noisy rock coexists nicely with creamy harmonies and deeply melodic songwriting. Like Clouded Staircase, it’s both a song cycle and a collection of pop tunes
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.