HGR CD Review: StarChild

STARCHILD – VOLUME II (no label) On their first album, Volume I, Harrisburg’s StarChild established that they were touched by a Kiss, blending covers of ‘70s era Kiss classics with original songs unapologetically rooted in that same ‘70s classic Kiss vein. On their second set, Volume II, StarChild again proudly displays their Kiss influence with more Kiss-rooted original songs and updates of Kiss classics, but they also include some surprises on the disc’s eleven tracks. The voice and presentation of singer, guitarist and ringleader Jerry Martin again could convince listeners that he is the long-lost and forgotten brother of Kiss’ Paul Stanley. And Martin’s knack for emulating ‘70s era Kiss strongly informs his songcraft on original Kiss-like anthems such as “I’m Forever Young,” “One More for the Road,” “Her Amazing Grace,” “Twisted Star” and “King of Nite.” Martin and StarChild also tip their hat to their chief influence with a fleshed-out update of Kiss’ legendary ballad “Beth,” a resurrection of Kiss’ Hotter Than Hell deep cut “Comin’ Home,” and a rendition of Ace Frehley’s solo hit “New York Groove.” The remainder of Volume II presents a few surprises; such as bassist Sharon Starr flexing her vocal cords on a cover of a cover, giving her spin on the Joan Jett twist on Tommy James’ “Crimson & Clover.” Martin and StarChild provide an original ballad, “Take Away My Heart,” with a chorus that borrows a little from Alice Cooper’s late ‘70s hit “I Never Cry.” And StarChild celebrates Motown to close the disc, with a rocking rendition of Smoky Robinson’s “Get Ready.” As with their first disc, StarChild sinks full heart and passion into the songs on Volume II, and there is never any doubt that this group loves Kiss and their influence. Martin’s vocals are enthusiastic, and his delivery is spirited and in the moment, not contrived or forced. Produced by Martin and engineered by Derek Euston in Harrisburg’s Green Room Studio, the album again sounds appropriately raw and comparable to those legendary ‘70s-era Kiss albums. StarChild leaves no doubt about what band they pay homage to on Volume II; but by stepping outside their Kiss-like persona for a few songs, they show that they are not just a one-trick pony. (To obtain, visit StarChild’s Facebook page,www.facebook.com/StarChildBand.)