Release Date: Jan 26, 2010
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
On their seventh album, Return to Form, acid rockers Major Stars make a journey back to their fuzzier, more psychedelic roots. Sandra Barrett is still holding down the vocal duties, but with a better mix than its previous album, Mirror/Messenger, the band is able to focus more attention on the three-pronged guitar assault of Wayne Rogers, Kate Village, and Tom Leonard. While the sound on this one isn’t as dirty as their earlier albums, they make up for it by doing what they do best and bringing the guitar worship back to the forefront.
Sometimes the best gigs are the happy accidents-- stumbling on an unknown band, or being convinced to see an artist by a friend only to become a convert yourself. That's how I was introduced to Major Stars: Hijacked, dragged to a tiny Baltimore bar where the band was headlining. And then, boom: Wayne Rogers launched into the first of many acid-rock solos and full-front assaults.
For over a decade and on eight full-lengths, the members of Boston’s Major Stars have been involved in a sordid romance with the electric guitar, elevating it to the status of cult object and employing three full-time lead players: long-running husband-and-wife duo Wayne Rogers and Kate Village along with Tom Leonard. The nature of Major Stars mission was stated plainly with the title of their first LP, The Rock Revival. Since then, Major Stars have developed their own personal Randy Holden-inspired universe of sound while principals Rogers and Village run Twisted Village, a label and retail store that is one of the guiding lights of the American underground.
The first time I heard Major Stars was several years ago, when I stumbled upon a bootlegged copy of a limited-edition live split they did with fellow psych revivalists Comets on Fire. The band’s contribution to Live in Europa was everything I needed at the time: chugging, unrelenting super-riffs blanketed mightily over crack-a-lack drums and blurry bass grooves, the levels on the recording pushed way into the red, everything rough and tumble and fuzzed-out beyond oblivion. It was a revelation — from the huge crop of bands at the time cribbing relentlessly from psych-rock oldsters like Blue Cheer and Hawkwind, Major Stars stood out not merely as one of the ablest of imitators, but as a band tremendously inspired, a band who really got it.