The Bitter Stars are an experimental Alternative Rock group from the small town of Charlton in upstate New York. The band is comprised of Clarke Hingeford and Kyle Pemrick, a musical duo who has worked together on multiple projects over the years. The two have entertained Capital District audiences since the mid 1990’s as collaborators in bands like; 100 Acre Wood, Nair, Scrapper, Captain Freedom and the Anarchists, Zardoz and DoÖojj.
“Winters” is the most recent album from The Bitter Stars, released worldwide via Bandcamp on April 1, 2021. The album is the band’s second LP following 2012’s “Virtual Magnets.” Born of the pandemic, the 9 song collection is a product of lockdown writing and recording sessions that came about after COVID brought an end to Clarke and Kyle’s previous band Doöojj.
From the percussive experimentation of the opening track “No One Decides” to the analog synths, horns and angsty love poetry of “Whole,” the record blurs the line between the avant-garde and traditional. The band lists a broad range of artists as influences, from Joy Division to Neil Diamond and from Television to the Mamas & Papas. That appreciation for both Alternative and Mainstream music from across the decades shapes their sound.
Throughout the record, rolling distorted bass lines ride driving beats built around a mix of live drums and syncopated organic and electronic percussion. Analog synths and found sounds paint the edges of the mix. Psychedelic guitars and backing vocals add trippy vibes to tracks like “Can You Feel It” and “Follow the Sun.”
However, through all of their sonic explorations The Bitter Stars build each song on solid melodic Pop roots. From the catchy Alt-Pop of “Audio 5” and “great” to the dark musings of “Give Yourself Something,” each bit of wonderful weirdness has a hook, which is no small task. New Wave guitar riffs and and memorable vocal melodies drop earworms throughout.
Lyrically the album paints an esoteric picture of the general malaise inherent to our weird world of quarantines and lockdowns. Recalling both the content and style of 70’s and 80’s Alt-Rock pioneering singers like Peter Gabriel, Julian Cope and Peter Murphy, The Bitter Stars deliver tales of love, social commentary and quirky personal observations.
The record is a great listen for any fan of the fearless creativity that launched the first wave of Alternative Rock. Check out “Winters’ ‘ in its entirety below. You can purchase and download the album from the band’s Bandcamp page. Follow the links below to connect with The Bitter Stars and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from the adventurous and prolific songwriting team of Clarke Hingeford and Kyle Pemrick.