Review Summary: The sophomore release from Post-Rockers Red Stars Theory is at times conventional, at times creative, at times touchingly melodic, and at times absolutely crushing. Blending harmonic post-flavored guitar passages and pulsating crescendos of sound, backed
I have not heard any other releases from Red Stars Theory before the time of this review, although apparently they have released one album before Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful, and two EPs shortly afterward. They are currently on a hiatus that began shortly after their 2000 EP, and have not resurfaced since.
Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful is not a difficult release to classify, but it can be hard to pigeonhole exactly. The sound of the album shifts from atypical post-rock with classical and electronic influences in its beginning to a more slow, depressive indie flavor towards the middle and end. More vocals, both male and female, come into play towards the latter part of the album, further diversifying the sound of the album. It is the bridge in genres, however minute, that makes this release something special, or at least keeps it from flailing completely.
At first listen, I was completely unimpressed with Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful, and Red Stars Theory in general. They came on directly after Red Sparowes on my iTunes library, and quite frankly, the first part didn't live up to the musical excellence that preceded it. Yes, I'm a Red Sparowes fanboy. However, a second listen a few weeks later, and this time through the entirety of the album, changed my perception on Red Stars Theory's sound. While the first few songs on Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful may be dwarfed by the more undisputed giants of post-rock, the echoing, melancholic feel of the latter half of the album is what makes Red Stars Theory stand out to me. They manage to combine the same simmering, slowly building feel of post-rock in a wholly different sound that incorporates vocals and more original instrumentation seamlessly into itself. Before hearing the song "Boring Ghosts", I didn't think a simple acoustic guitar passage, jazzy bass licks and almost incorrigible reindeer bells/tambourine percussion could sound sad. It only helps that the song that follows it, "A Sailor's Warning" is possibly the most haunting, beautiful song on the album.
If Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful began with the same inspiring originality and breathtaking tone as it evolves into, it could be one of the best releases of its genre. However, it begins as something we've all heard before, and therefore something we all easily dismiss. Red Stars Theory's sophomore album takes patience, and takes time, but the wait is extremely rewarding for any fan of slow music. Check it out.