Steller - What You Believe
Bill Cummings 10/01/2008
Press releases are hard to get right. For every well thought out, measured promotional piece, enthused with passion for the musical release at hand that manages to balance informative background on a group, mixing in worthwhile comparisons and song descriptions, there's a whole Amazonian RAINFOREST'S worth of paper wasted on ridiculously misjudged pieces of over hype, full of laughable comparisons, hackneyed attempts at self mythologizing and reams of facts and sales figures. Macclesfield four piece Steller (awful name, some kind of beer surely?) win the prize for the worst press release I've ever had the misfortune to read, in fact you could nail this beauty to a wall in any press office around the land as an example of "HOW NOT TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE."
There are a few golden rules surrounding this kind of promotional bumf: firstly never emotional blackmail presumably in some kind of pathetic attempt to get a few extra downloads (40p of the profits from Steller's debut single go to Christies cancer research hospital in Manchester). Whilst I respect any band who want to support a worth while charity, the way it's presented is all wrong. I have sympathy with anyone who suffers with cancer, but you don't have to shout about your "charidee work." The band quote jars terribly, coming off more like a quote from Spinal Tap than a genuine plea ("the work they do is fantastic and without funding who knows, my mum might not have been around too").
Never use misdirected over hype when your music clearly isn't ready. Apparently "What You Believe” has "sky scraping guitar melodies" and songwriters that "will be remembered alongside Gallagher and Ashcroft... Steller are a band ready for the next level." While it's fine to sell your band, these kind of misdirected overstatements and ill judged comparisons are blown away by the tinny, weedy guitars that usher in their single, and the clunky, self empowerment lyrics that are presumably inspired by some self help manual ("you're chasing you're chasing/you're faking, faking, what's up your sleeve? You gotta make it before you fall"). They briefly hint at both the Enemy's chopping urban dissatisfaction and Hard-Fi's fist punching guitar driven indie. While this has clearly been produced at great expense, "you can't shine shite" and there's no burying those weedy, nasal, American aping vocals that are bordering on the emo-esque. This is more Fallout Boy than brothers Gallagher and the whole attempt is weighed down by a lack of bite and the "punch" that we were promised, singularly lacking in a decent tune or any kind of musical dynamism, even the apologetic "solo" here is more one of those pathetic guitar fills that any boy and his Strat copy could knock out at home. Then there's the unnecessary fade out that just sounds lazy, as if the producer is almost as tired of this four minute "indie classic" as the listener is.
A word about the band pictures too, the shots fall into every single band cliché going: moody looking young men in casuals staring into the mid-distance whilst standing on a banister (it could be an ad for C&A); and then there's the predictable Beatles-esque shot of Steller in "walking down the street" shocker, all in tasteful monochrome.
This is another in the long line of hype over substance releases and you can't really blame a young band like Steller, blame their pr/management company who mishandled their promotional material, because in a few years maybe a band like this will have developed enough to be worthy of another airing(they must have better material than this). As it is this is hideously poor, ill developed guitar pop made infinitely worse by one of the most hilariously deluded press releases I've ever read.