During last summer I noticed that a band called Estrella were due to play my local venue of choice. I hadn’t heard of them but the venue said they would be “just up my street”. Unfortunately, it turned out they visited during the two weeks that we were away. Needless to say, the news came flooding to me that I would have loved them. So, when I saw that the boys from Scotland were on the bill at HRH AOR I made a point of going to check them out.
Various reviewers on other media have commented about the Second Stage at HRH AOR but, to be honest, I found the intimate environment a fun and original way of getting up close and personal with some of the newer bands to the AOR scene. Estrella were, to quote the team at The Railway “right up my street”. Boasting a high energy mix of very 80s influenced, sometime party always upbeat tunes the Gunn brothers (Paul – vocals, Luke – guitar and Nathan – bass) and Leo McPherson on drums really made it their mission to win over the crowd. They certainly won me over (in fact I had to apologise for being late for an interview…oops). Lots of chant along choruses to bring the audience with them, a nice line in Aero-Leppard-Halen tricks and a few neat “Whoa, whoas” for good measure and I was hooked. One person I spoke to said Paul Gunn on vocals reminded him of a young David Lee Roth and I have to say that the more I have lived with the album (“Come Out to Play”) the more I tend to agree – don’t get me wrong, he is no copyist, I just get the spirit of Diamond Dave. Lots of positive comments were heard around the venue and they need to be seen live as weell as on record.
And so to the album. I was hooked by the live show so what could the lads deliver on record? Well production-wise they have captured a great sound – solid riffs, great vocals and doesn’t sound like they went mad with compression (the curse of the MP3 generation?). Even the drums sound solid and pounding unlike many higher profile releases of the last couple of years – clearly down to the quality production courtesy of John T Sinclair (ex band member with Ozzy Osbourne and Uriah Heap).
14 tracks that are as good at track one (the ridiculously infectious “Chance of a Lifetime”) right through to the closer, “Don’t Forget Me”. Just like the greatest albums by the bands that have influenced the guys, the guys come over all late 80s raunchy at times. Not too cheesy but clearly reflecting that they are having a ball – highlighted on one of my favourites “Do It Til We Drop”. It’s not often you hear the lyric “shoo-wop-do-waddy-waddy” these days is it? I can’t wait to see them again…another band straight into my list of favourites (currently running at about 38 brazillion!)
A fantastic debut that should be the soundtrack of your summer – top down, music on loud…it’ll bring a big stupid grin to your face. Oh ‘eck, I live in Lancashire – remind me again, what is summer? Never mind, I’ll still turn it up loud and brave the rain…..come on folks “Come Out to Play”.
Estrella can be seen live over the coming months:
May 10 Railway Venue Bolton, United Kingdom
May 15 HRH Ibiza Road Trip Ibiza, Spain
Jun 28 Les-Fest 2013 Lanark, United Kingdom
Sep 21 Skyfest 2013 Mansfield, United Kingdom
Oct 05 Falling Red Album Launch
For more information on Estrella and to buy the album: