The sound of pop and rock coming together usually has a way of energizing you in big ways. Such is the case for Scottish singer Amy Macdonald's new album Under Stars, which is full of anthemic tracks to make you feel rejuvenated.
Right from the record's beginning, you feel very free. 'Dream On' is a very forward-moving track, with an unstoppable drive and a very fun melody to it. It's fast verses are brought together by anthemic choruses that ring sweetly and brightly as if to celebrate a sunny day. Title track 'Under Stars' follows through with a bit more punchiness to it, its more alternative sound being much more calm but still energetic.
There isn't a dull moment on this record, but all the same there aren't many exciting moments, either. Under Stars does have moments that really do shine above the rest, though. The anthemic build of 'Feed My Fire' as it starts from a stripped down acoustic track to a bustling folk rock track is one such example. The same is true for 'Prepare To Fall,' which is basically a leveled up version of the former. It starts peacefully and quietly with a sweet guitar riff before growing to big heights backed by big synths, huge vocals, and loads of atmosphere. On the flip side, the subtlety of 'Down By The Water' is what makes that track shine. It's a very soulful track, with gospel backing vocals making that theme come out even stronger. It's one of the folkiest track on the record but it's also one of the sweetest.
There are plenty of moments that could use a bit more pizazz to them to spice up this record. Under Stars has a general vibe but beyond the main idea, there really isn't much that stands out other than the aforementioned tracks. You can appreciate the higher register of Macdonald in 'Never Too Late' and the cheerful vibe and dinky guitars of 'Leap Of Faith,' but nothing in these tracks will really have you feeling satisfied. It always feels like these songs could go one step further than they were taken, unfortunately making them fall just shy of greatness.
You'll feel rejuvenated in Amy Macdonald's Under Stars with its anthemic and powerful nature, but for a majority of it you'll be left wanting a bit more. There are no dull moments on this record, but there aren't many exciting ones, either. It's a great album to listen to for a run or when you want to have the image of a sunny day in your mind, but otherwise this record comes off as pretty standard. There's nothing wrong with a bit of brightness in a record, though.
Favorite Tracks: Prepare To Fall, Down By The River
Least Favorite Track: The Contender
Rating: 74 / 100
Buy or listen to Under Stars here: