Starsick System - 'Lies, Hopes & Other Stories'

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Starsick System - 'Lies, Hopes & Other Stories'

A satisfying and appetite-quenching ten track outing.

"Are you ready for a new sensation?" – asked Aussie Rockers INXS back in the good old eighties for those with memories long enough. Starsick System come with that exact "new sensation" billing, but then that's PR companies for you. The Italian's 2014 debut 'Daydreamin'' found them plonked conveniently alongside the more familiar Nickelback and Alter Bridge, a fair comparison with their Modern Hard Rock leanings, although it's the Spacey fanfare of 'Nebulous' that acts to announce the imminent arrival of 'I Am The Hurricane', one that delivers what the title promises... and we're off and running.

'Lies, Hopes & Other Stories' fits the billing. Maybe not newly sensational but it's big and chunky, packed with bold and belting riffs and by heck it's got a clutch of hooks that wouldn't be out of place in your local fishing tackle emporium, hitting the melodic aspect without breaking sweat.

The use of atmospheric intros reappears in 'Come One, Come All' before the track launches into a combination of juddering vocal and explosive guitar, a guitar style that evokes memories of prime Thin Lizzy on 'Bulletproof' – even the title sounds Lizzy-like. It's one of the standouts on a first run though, but where are your fingers going to go when it gets to the point when you know the album so well that you start to cherry pick your favourite tracks – the stuff that counts.

'The Promise' is going to rise to the top with a hook that pulls you in and becomes one of those earworms you can't shake off, while 'Scars' has a more dramatic atmospheric quality with a touch of Eastern magic drifting in that's always handy for a touch of mystique. A departure into the acoustic spectrum comes in the shape of 'Everything And More', one that evokes a Sixties vibe about it (maybe it's in the vocal?), but the sequencing hits the spot with the fade out in 'Hope' – a rollicking, flag waving anthem of a track, complete with crowd participation "whoa ho ho" moments.

On a finishing note, covering 'You Know My Name' – Chris Cornell's Bond theme song for 'Casino Royale' – might appear a tad unnecessary, yet in hindsight with his recent death, it stands as a fair tribute and seal to a satisfying and appetite-quenching ten track outing.

Mike Ainscoe

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