Review: Autumn’s Child – Starflower

Review: Autumn’s Child – Starflower

Pride & Joy Music (January 20th, 2023)

Reviewer: Chris O’Connor

I am unashamedly a huge fan of this band, their wonderfully catchy brand of Melodic Rock always ‘ticks all my boxes’ musically, so I was hugely excited to learn that they had a brand-new studio album coming out. 2021’s ‘Zenith’ was nothing short of a masterpiece – so I had very high expectations for this.

Now comes a weird admission – at first, I was actually a little disappointed. Somehow ‘Starflower’ was/is not as immediate as ‘Zenith’, and I felt a little deflated. however, what ‘Starflower’ actually is – is a slow-burner, and now I cannot get enough of it! It’s a different beast to its predecessor, wisely, rather than just trying to repeat the winning formula, the band has found a slightly different path to follow.

Starflower’ is slightly more experimental in sound and style, yet is a wonderful and enriching release, chock full of quality songs and stellar musicianship. Opening proceedings with the epic ‘Gamechanger’, the band sets out their stall in magnificent style. The song is an up-tempo romp, replete with fabulous guitar and keyboard solos, soaring vocals, and a chorus to die for, it simply sinks its hooks into you and refuses to let go.

Aphrodite’s Eyes’ is an exotic sounding piece, more progressive than you might expect, yet still ultra-melodic, but somehow the chorus isn’t quite as impressive as I’d hoped, I’m not sure what is missing, but it’s slightly disappointing. ‘Welcome To The Show’ is a slightly weird track, as it somehow fuses fairly straight ahead rock, with Pomp rock grandiosity – and it has a surging urgency that is genuinely infectious. It’s one of those songs that probably shouldn’t work, but simply does anyway.

Opera’ changes things completely, taking huge elements of Queen and Valencia, the tone and style of the guitar here is undeniably ‘borrowed’ from Brian May. It’s a brooding song, dripping with emotion and atmosphere, with an impassioned vocal from Micheal Erlandsson. ‘Karenina’ is much more ‘traditional’ Autumn’s Child, smooth and glistening with glorious melodies and harmonies – again with a huge chorus, I absolutely love this one.

1995’ is another driving rocker, quite high tech AOR in sound and feel, with shimmering keyboards, some lovely guitarwork from Pontus Åkesson, and with a fabulous chorus that demands you sing along lustily. ‘Dorian Gray’ is a weird one – it really needed to be a huge epic storyteller of a song, and yet isn’t. The song simply doesn’t take off as you want it to, it almost feels half-formed somehow – it’s the single most frustrating number here.

I Can’t Get Enough’ is much better, a brooding number, with a wonderful chorus, and some very tasteful fretwork from Mr Åkesson, it’s excellent stuff and highlights how truly wonderful this band can be. ‘The Final Call’ could easily have come off ‘Zenith’, it’s an uplifting and almost poppy number that simply works on every level. ‘Love From Tokyo’ is the obligatory power ballad, which instantly reminds me of Thin Lizzy’s timeless ‘Still In Love With You’ – and that is it’s problem, it is simply too similar – from the guitarwork to the verse and chorus structures – it is more a tribute to Phil Lynott and co than anything else. Weird.

The ’normal’ album ends with ‘It’s Not Too Late’ which is a breezy piece of Pop Rock, it has a cool chorus, and is generally a nice song to close out an album with. My copy however. is the Japanese version, so comes with a bonus track in the form of ‘When It’s Christmas’. Whatever your thoughts on yuletide songs, this one is a grower, and brings to mind Cheap Trick at their most melodic – so is something of a gem ‘Starflower’ then is a flawed jewel, but it still stands head and shoulders above a majority of other more ‘cookie cutter’ releases. If you love quality Rock music, I would happily recommend it to you, as this is yet another winner from the multi-talented Swedes!

Track list:

1. Gamechanger

2. Aphrodite’s Eyes

3. Welcome To The Show

4. Opera

5. Karenina

6. 1995

7. Dorian Gray

8. I Can’t Get Enough

9. The Final Call

10.Love From Tokyo

11. It’s Not Too Late

12. When It’s Christmas