The Stardumb Records logo essentially operates as a green light for blind purchases. If Stefan Stardumb decides to put out a record, you know it’s gonna be good. But whereas Stardumb once was home primarily to pop punk and ramonescore bands, in recent years we’ve seen the label broaden its horizons somewhat, for example with Local Drags, Lone Wolf and the most recent Geoff Palmer record. Stardumb’s latest addition probably is furthest yet from the typical Stardumb sound. James Sullivan’s debut LP Light Years is closer to Velvet Underground, Guided By Voices, and Paul Westerberg than to Groovie Ghoulies or the Apers.
James Sullivan is the frontman and guitar player of two excellent powerpop outfits (More Kicks and Suspect Parts). To get himself going in the pandemic, he decided to set himself the goals of writing a song a day for ten days. He then recorded the songs at home in North Londona on his half-broken Tascam 8-track. Rather than choosing a specific direction for the songs, he took the opportunity to try out different styles. The result is a diverse record that’s decidedly different than Sullivan’s past work, while still showcasing his great songwriting skills.
Album opener Lea Bridge is one of the albums highlights. I love how Sullivan talksings with a heavy accent over a steady beat and a cool guitar riff. The gorgeous punkrock ballad You Kept My Heart Alive is another standout and may be my favorite track on the record. But rather than talking about individual tracks, Light Years works really well as an album. I really like the flow of the record. A significant proportion of the record is mellow, but I’m never skipping any of the songs. Sullivan draws you in from the opening seconds and will leave you content after each play of Light Years.
Light Years has a Stardumb Records logo on it. It’s out now. What are you waiting for? Buy it!