Stellar Vector is a band that comes from the Minneapolis area. The group started as a duo when Charles Sadler and Jonathon Ford met in a rock club. After the keyboard player (Sadler) and guitarist (Ford) created the duo, they added more and more elements to the band’s sound until they ended up as a five-piece outfit that they are today. Guitarist Kevin Hahn, bassist Mike Johnson and drummer Stephan Ahonen help fill out the rest of the band.
With keyboard player/lead singer Sadler and guitarist Ford being the founding members of the group, the sound of the band blends together guitar-rock and piano-pop into one sound. At some points, the group focuses their sound in the direction of neo-prog influences such as Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, even Gabriel-era Genesis. At other times, the focus of the musical sound is more in the direction of new wave groups such as A Flock of Seagulls.
A Flock of Cowards, the new album from Stellar Vector, begins with the track “Buffalo Jump,” a title that refers to a natural formation that was used by Native Americans in mass killings of buffalo. In the case of the song by Stellar Vector, it refers to people having that same herd-like mentality, leading themselves to a bad situation. This is the heaviest track on the disc. While the neo-progressive influence is definitely apparent in the song, that flavor is mixed together with alternative sounds, as well.
As “Buffalo Jump” ends, the rest of the album from Stellar Vector settles into a pattern of alternating between the neo-progressive and new wave feelings of the band’s music. The second song of the disc, “Lacking Self-Control,” is a piano-based song with a definite progressive rock feel to it. And while the second song has a piano base to it, “Will Sans Fear” is a progressive rock song with a guitar sound to it. The song sounds like it could have come off an early Genesis album.
One of the strongest tracks from Stellar Vector’s release of A Flock of Cowards is the title track to the release. “The Flock of Cowards” is one song where the two main influences of the band, neo-progressive rock and new wave rock, come together to create one style. And like the first track of the release, “Buffalo Jump,” “The Flock of Cowards” is another song with a mob mentality to it. With this song, however, is about running with the crowd even though the basis of the fear is not known by any of the people in the crowd.
The band’s song “February 14th” can be subtitled “Breakup Day”. And while the entire song reflects the things that the narrator does and thinks while going through the day up until the big moment when he drops the bomb, the very last line adds a bit of humor to an otherwise serious situation. No spoilers coming, but let’s just say the last line of the song comes out of nowhere and will leave you with a grin….to say the least.
The band’s new wave influence comes out in a big way in the song “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. The keyboards of Charles Sadler make a up large portion of the music of this song; they bring to mind many of the bands that were a big part of the new wave movement back in the ‘eighties.
With the last song of the album, “Closing Notes,” Charles Sadler seems to be channeling John Foxx, one of the unsung heroes of the new wave movement. The music of the song, along with Sadler’s voice on this song, clearly brings Foxx to mind.
The combination of guitar-based and keyboard-based songs with the influences of new wave and progressive rock help give Stellar Vector a different style that you can definitely hear. With the first album of A Flock of Cowards, Stellar Vector has created a solid first release that has a lot of depth to it.
To find out more about the band, find them online at http://www.stellarvector.com. You can also find them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/stellarvector. You can also check out their publicity firm at http://www.therainmakermediagroup.com.