Hearing Aide: Stellar Young ‘Vessels’

Known as one of Albany’s most distinct rock acts, Stellar Young are back with a new effort, Vessels. With great tracks such as “Helen, I…” and “We Got Away,” one would be hard pressed to deny the musicianship and writing ability of Stellar Young. Vessels is not just a good album, though, it is a breath of fresh air (if you’ll pardon the cliche) on the modern rock scene. It’s one of those albums that you can close your eyes to and relax. It’s definitely on par with some of the legends of this generation and days before.

They say every great band has an X – Factor. Stellar Young has five.

It starts with Dave Parker. He’s not just a bass player. He’s a f*cking weapon. The man had his start in Kingston, about an hour outside Albany, recording the likes of Weerd Science (of Coheed and Cambria fame) and has gone as part of Stellar to Applehead Recordings in Woodstock, where the band worked with engineer Chris Bittner to make Vessels sound like a million bucks.

All song compositions, including lyrics, are attributed to the entire band, but the broadcaster of those lyrics, John Glenn (not the astronaut) has the voice of a god; each lyric is sung with deep emotion and thought — allowing the listener to insert him or herself into the soundscape. And one live performance will have audiences convinced he is damn close to pitch perfect. On “Hitting Reset,” those high notes will leave you amazed. And his synth playing adds a new dimension to the music — one of ambiance and emotion.

“Red Lights” shows off the perfect partnership between guitarists Kyle Hatch and Erik Flora. While a lot of bands choose simply to go with a single guitarist for their own reasons, the match of Flora and Hatch remains a gold team. The two guitarists have the ability to “weave” between one another, creating a slight chaos, but also a tasteful depth. Their dirty tones work well with Glenn’s voice — think something between The Killers and The Rolling Stones.

Curt Mulick is no stranger to the drumset, either. He delivers a dynamic performance, often alternating styles for the broadest spectrum. One song that high lights his ability to do this would be “Nomad.” Not every performance is played in any traditional style, but Mulick is the driving force, the glue that kept this album together.

Overall, Vessels, is simply an album very well done. Stellar Young is no longer some underdog and they definitely don’t fit into the profile of local band anymore. It’s quite the surprise