Stardog Champion is a new band. Well, let me rephrase that; They are a new band to you, but you will know a few of the members. You see, these guys have had major success in the past. Some were a part of the band Breaking Benjamin. After that whole fiasco, those members, who had been together many years before in Lifer, decided to make another go at it.
What about the name you ask? That rings a bell you say? Well, Stardog Champion was a song from Mother Love Bone. That band met an unfortunate end as their vocalist Andrew Wood passed away. Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard went on to form Pearl Jam. Enough of a history lesson though, we’re here to talk about the music! Stardog Champion are about to release their debut EP titled Exhale. That’s why we’re here. Let’s do this!
Opening the album is the blistering rocker Aphrodite. The song has a nice groove and the chorus is a catchy one. The dual guitar attack of Nick Coyle and Aaron Fink is great, but bassist Mark James really shines on this track for me.
Nothing to Lose is one of my favorites on the EP. The guitars have a bit of a punk feel in the delivery and the hand claps in the verse are infectious. Vocally, the song is delivered in a bit of a subdued style, which makes for an interesting contrast to the fast-paced guitars. This song will be a crowd mover.
Next up is the first single, When We Fall. This song has “radio” written all over it. For me, this song is by far the most polished on the album. The production is stellar and the track is definitely one for the masses. You can certainly tell by the production that the band knew they had something special with this one.
Check out the video for When We Fall below:
House of Cards keeps the train rolling. This one is a difficult one to describe. The song itself took a few spins for me to really grasp it. The song delivers something completely different than the rest of the EP and for me, this is a stellar track. I really get an Incubus feel from this track. I’m not sure it’s a “radio” hit, but who listens to the radio anyway?
Ending the EP is The Switch. This is as close to a ballad as the band cares to venture, and I’m perfectly fine with that. The song has by far the catchiest chorus on the album. Vocalist Nick Coyle conjures up some thoughts of Paul McCoy from 12 Stones on this one. The acoustic guitar underneath helps to set the mood of the track, and the drumming of Josh Karis is absolutely captivating. This song is the one that will put Stardog Champion on the map.
Overall, the band has given us a nice broad range of what we can expect from them. They’ve created something that is instantly recognizable, feels familiar, and yet is able to stand apart from the masses of music that saturate the market today. As with any band getting started, you have to feel that there are more monsters in waiting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full-length album by the end of the Summer, and I can’t wait if that happens.
Unsung Melody Score: 8/10
Preview or purchase your copy of Exhale below: