What You Want?

'Confessions of a Twisted Mind' is the debut album from Lancashire based Dear Superstar, together in one form or another for the last eight years they have scrapped and scraped to fund this release totally off their own back and I have to say they've done a damn good job.

First off let's look at what's right with this album, the music for one is good stuff, competently played straight edged rock and roll in the main but more on that later. The production is excellent for a self financed record, as is the packaging and if hard work alone was a measure for success then Dear Superstar would be laughing.

Let's get this out of the way early; what's bad with this album is the lyrics ("I'm gonna put my love in your mouth ... make you swallow my treat!!!!") and the overall image they put across, it's just too much Motley Crue. Some of the statements in the press release are cringe worthy and makes it seem like they are trying too hard, if the music is good enough the rock and roll lifestyle can follow, is there any need to advertise the fact that they consider themselves a band of womanisers? Likely to turn off as many people as it will appeal to, just let the tunes do the talking.

Having said all that what about the songs themselves? Proceedings kick off with 'Sunset Strip Suicide' a fairly basic rock tune but it works well and benefits greatly from some accomplished guitar work over a decent chorus. The following track 'Freedom' moves things on a level with a good sing a long chorus with some uber cool guitar licks and a big riff, although it does feature the aforementioned lyrics!

'And We Live' starts with an acoustic intro before breaking into another huge riff, this is probably the first track that really wouldn't be out of place gracing a bigger stage. It's got all the classic elements you'd want and expect from a big number although some of the vocals sound a touch forced. 'Days of Yesterday' and 'the title track 'Confessions of a Twisted Mind' firmly cement the bands musical ability with a succession of quality riffs and some excellent solo work. If there's a criticism to be had it's that all the choruses tend to follow a similar vocal pattern that tails off on the last note, it's a minor point that's generally overshadowed by the music but a bit of variety would be welcome.

'Falling Apart' demonstrates a nice use of dynamics and plays the contrasts between mellow verse and exploding chorus well. 'Break Up' doesn't quite hit the spot like some of the earlier tracks being somewhat restrained and would benefit from an explosive screaming guitar solo at the end. 'What You Want' has a good hustling riff and moves along well but lacks a killer chorus, once again though the guitar work is impressive. Penultimate track 'Submission' brings things back up to speed with a good driving rhythm interspersed with a mellower verse and some decent backing vocals. It's all rounded off with 'Little Devil', which as well as being the longest track is probably the best. Mid paced it may be but it has strength in depth with a great staccato guitar part and good use of vocal production techniques. There's plenty going on in this track, all the elements are clear and well crafted and it flows much better than the other slower tracks.

Dear Superstar could certainly make an impression with this, sure there is some fine tuning to do, they really need to dig out that monster catchy chorus for one, but they seem to have everything else in place. If honest rock and roll works for you then these guys are certainly worth investigating, this is a promising start that lays firm foundations to build on.