Listening to Searching for a Thrill, a label debut from the latest incarnation of Georgia’s Starbuck, I’m struck by how closely its assets, shortcomings, and musical styles parallel those of its two predecessors. I’m almost tempted to dig up one of my earlier Starbuck reviews, change a few words and save myself some work. But that would be a little too much like what the band itself has done.
Besides sounding quite similar to past Starbuck LPs, at any rate, Searching for a Thrill proves just as inconsistent. Like a large portion of what you find in bargain bins, it contains a few minor gems and a preponderance of filler.
Still, if you enjoy such previous Starbuck hits as “Moonlight Feels Right” as much as I do, you might find it worthwhile to buy this record for its high points. Songs like “The Coldest Night of the Year” and “Go Wild” may indicate little artistic growth, but these atmospheric, seductive ballads, which offer distinctive phrasing and lilting melodies, charmingly achieve their modest goals.
To hear the aforementioned cuts without suffering excessively, however, you may have to do a lot of needle-jumping. “Y’all Come Here and Rock and Roll,” which indicates that writer Jimmy Cobb ought to stick to his bass, proves even more prosaic and longwinded than its title. The equally cliched “Take My Hand,” by new member John Fristoe, sounds like a bad outtake from Traffic’s first LP. And the title cut, which United Artists terms “a witty look at today’s new wave rockers,” actually melds mundane music to some of the most witless lyrics I’ve heard this year.
A best-of-Starbucks package, which would theoretically be cleansed of such garbage, would find its way onto my turntable on a regular basis. But I’m afraid that only a few cuts save my copy of the present LP from a much more permanent resting place.