There’s a somewhat trite quote about life happening while you’re busy making plans. They might be the sort of faux-inspirational words that live on a Hallmark poster, but there’s a certain bravery behind the concept of ‘seizing the day’.
In lesser hands, this concept would have been a somewhat mawkish idea on which to hang an album. Stars Hollow – one of the brightest new emo acts out there – do not have lesser hands, however. After a stellar couple of EPs, the Iowa trio have fulfilled such early promise with an album bursting with wide-eyed optimism and a wildly infectious desire to thrive.
Combining the passion of The Hotelier, the poise of Into It Over It and the power of Free Throw, Stars Hollow’s gently-mathy, sprightly indie-rock will certainly feel familiar to anyone with even a remote interest in anything that has happened post emo-revival. And, while the breakout success of Origami Angel and Dogleg has helped push the focus onto a new generation of bands picking up the emo baton, Stars Hollow could be the ones to serve as the accelerant for the whole scene.
What’s most striking about ‘I Want To Live My Life’ is the confidence to go with a strong narrative structure. Opener ‘I Want To Live My Life’, midpoint ‘…’ and closing song ‘But better’ are all built around the same riff, and all make reference to monsters lurking in the closet. On opener ‘I Want To Live My Life’, an almost passive Tyler Stodghill is content with waiting for life to start, yet by ‘But better’ he’s screaming to get out there and accomplish something. It’s a winning, crowd-pleasing, breakthrough, and an undeniable fist-in-the-air moment.
And what happens in between these markers is just as interesting. Whether that’s screaming through a sunroof or crashing through a windscreen, ‘I Want To Live My Life’ is filled with stories of confronting fears and finding the strength to make a positive difference – often with grin-inducing abandon.
The beauty of ‘I Want To Live My Life’ is that it wears this optimism like a badge of honour. In a time when it’s so easy to be jaded or cynical, such a clear love for life and for self-betterment, is a refreshing alternative. Life might wait, but don’t sit on this summer soundtrack…