I’m someone who unabashedly loved the first Starbomb album. Despite the (legitimate) criticisms of their debut CD being one big dick joke, I still laughed out loud at least once a song. Not only that, but there are some SERIOUSLY catchy jams on it, to the point where despite it’s short runtime (roughly a half hour), I repeatedly found myself listening to the whole things two or three times in a row. Egoraptor is a surprisingly good rapper, the lyrics are clever, and Danny has a spectacular voice for rock ballads… So I was a little sad when I found that Starbomb`s second offering, Player Select, is much more of a mixed bag than their first record.
Now, that`s not to say that there aren`t some great tracks on here. Glass Joe`s Title Fight, Smash!, and Minecraft is for Everyone are probably the strongest tracks on the album, and channel some of the band`s biggest strengths. The rhythms are dynamic, the lyrics are fun and clever, and the songs are devilishly catchy. They never feel monotonous or gimmicky, and straddle the line perfectly between their value as comedic parody and being legit, quality music in their own right.
A couple of the attempts at “sequel” tracks are considerably weaker. Mortal Kombat High, The New Pokerap, and The Hero of Rhyme all kind of feel like they’re riding the coat tails of the tracks from the first album. For instance, the Pokerap just turns into Ego listing out random words to make up Pokemon that don’t exist. If there was something ADDITIONAL to the song, that would be fine, but it’s a one-note joke that goes on way too long. The last third of MK High is just the two saying words with “-ality” at the end of them. It’s an attempt to make fun of the huge amount of Fatalities in MK, but it kind of ends up feeling half-assed after great tracks like Crasher-vania and The Book of Nook.
Not only thing, but in between the tracks are these occasional sketches like Toad Joins the Band and the Atari Mystery Hour that… to be blunt, just… aren’t… funny, and just seem to take up space where music should be.
I hate to end this review on a negative note, so I DO want to emphasize that ARE some really great songs on here. When Player Select hits, it hits HARD, and I’ve had Minecraft is for Everyone and Smash! stuck in my head for hours. But those soaring heights are balanced out by some pretty mediocre lows. I feel as though this album lacks focus, and Starbomb still isn’t exactly sure what it wants to be stylistically. Hopefully they can go back to the drawing board and play to their strengths by the time the next release comes around. For now though, Player Select is the perfect example of why the ability to buy individual tracks off of iTunes is a blessing.
Rating: 3 out of 5.