Belgium’s Showstar unleashed their own brand of infectious pop, courtesy of the excellent ‘Think Ringo’ album in 2010; the bittersweet lyrics giving the record an edge that is often beyond their peers. The same group members have now brought in composers and arrangers, and the newly-monikered Silicon Ballet could be seen as purveyors of a more mature form of Belgian pop.
The propulsive ‘Victory’ takes a while to get going and although it’s cheery chorus is likeable it lacks the immediacy of Showstar’s best material. No matter, the project improves steadily. ‘Stellar Fade Out’ is more ambitious with strings adding an extra layer to this dark pop song; the blackness further emphasised on the instrumental track (‘Utopia’) which succeeds it.
Thanks to its odd uptempo words (“Let’s celebrate Christmas in summer”) and flower-power arrangements, the Beatles-like ‘Sunglasses’ sees the group step further back in time for inspiration. Similarly, calling the next song ‘Different Class’ speaks of a certain irony given the band’s dalliances with Brit-pop but both this piece and the finale ‘Spectrals’ are definitely in closer alliance with British psychedelia.
‘Utopia’ proves what a talented and versatile set of musicians Silicon Ballet are, with a whole new direction mapped out for the band. The only small criticism would be that the journey seems to be focussed on the past rather than the future.
Showstar, My Life Story