WHAT A difference a year makes. In 2018 LA's Starcrawler's debut album arrived after much hype and celebrity endorsements from Dave Grohl and Elton John. It was spirited and energetic, but scrappy and inconsistent.
It did, however, showcase real potential, a potential now fully realised on Devour You, which finds the quartet, still in their late teens and very early twenties, brimming with greater assurance, and their songwriting having grown in confidence and maturity.
The band have also expanded their pop-punk/sleaze rock template to incorporate a wider variety of sounds, giving them a broader canvas to work on. Noticeable is the impact of country and Americana on their more classic rock leanings, producing two superb tracks - 'No More Pennies' and the poignant, reflective, 'Born Asleep' - which illustrate most their growth as songwriters and arrangers. Also significant is the influence of nineties alternative/indie, resulting in strong tracks, like 'Hollywood Endings', 'Rich Taste', and the more pure alternative/grunge of 'Don't Need You', which recalls Hole.
The album ends on a delightfully unhinged note. 'Call Me A Baby' is a gothic ballad, made creepy by its use of repetition and backing vocals from a troupe of girl scouts. Devour You is Starcrawler's first great work. Let's hope it won't be the last.