There have been a distinct lack of decent Scottish Rock bands in recent years, but Aberdeen based Estrella are here to rectify the situation with their formidable debut album, 'Come Out To Play'.
The recipe they used is fairly straightforward – take four talented musicians, add in someone who has a solid track record in rock music to guide the band and produce the album – in this case John T Sinclair (ex-Heavy Metal Kids/Ozzy Osbourne/The Cult) – and you're almost there. The final piece is having high quality songs, something which Estrella have in abundance!
The band aren't scared to admit that they have been influenced by 70s or 80s rock music, but have made this one of their strengths, as their sound is one which won't date easily. Sure, there are keyboard parts on 'Party' and the title track itself, but these are never to the detriment of the songs and they are certainly never over-used.
'Party' also contains one of the many stellar guitar solos from Luke Gunn, that wouldn't look out of place on a Van Halen record, whilst his brother, vocalist Paul Gunn, sounds like a young Steven Tyler at times. 'Shout (I Wanna Hear You)' is a good solid tune that typifies their style. Drummer Leo J McPherson pounds out a solid backbeat over which Luke's lead guitar is laid, and it's certainly easy to see how a song like this would fit into a live set with its catchy chorus. 'Do It 'Til We Drop' is another solid slice of rock guaranteed to get an audience clapping and singing along at a live gig.
The band do rock songs very well, but they also do slower tempos very, very well indeed. 'Mona Lisa Smile' starts off with a simple enough arrangement – quiet drums, light guitar and vocals pushed to the fore, add in a little keyboards and you have one of the standout tracks on the album. 'Last Mohican' is third Gunn brother and bass player Nathan's tour de force as he holds down a solid bassline underneath the dulcet tones of Paul who gives a subtler performance that some of the other tracks, a sound which lends itself very well to the song.
This album really is Estrella's chance of a lifetime, in more ways than one. With the album coming joint first at the Scottish New Music Awards earlier this year for the Best Rock/Metal Performance, a string of tour dates already completed and the tour diary filling up nicely over the coming months (including a nine date European tour with 1980s songstress, Robin Beck), this is one chance that they certainly won't be throwing away.
You can catch the band on tour here:
20th October – Highway To Hell 3 – Classic Grand, Glasgow
22nd October – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
23rd October – Backstage, Munich, Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
24th October – Gloria, Regensburg, Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
26th October – Werkhof, Luebeck, Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
27th October – Raeucherei, Kiel, Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
28th October – 7er Club, Mannheim , Germany (supporting Robin Beck)
30th October – Galery, Pratteln, Switzerland (supporting Robin Beck)
1st November – Orpheum Graz, Austria (supporting Robin Beck)
2nd November – Komma , Woergl, Austria (supporting Robin Beck)
9th November – The Diamond, Sutton In Ashfield
15th December – The Newmarket, Thurso
21st December – The Masons Arms, Lesmahagow
22nd December – The Venue, Dumfries
Chance Of A Lifetime
Come Out To Play
Mona Lisa Smile
Shout (I Wanna Hear You)
Do It Til' We Drop
She's Got It
Whatever It Is
What You See v
I'd Give It All
Don't Forget Me
Paul Gunn: Vocals
Luke Gunn: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nathan T. Gunn: Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Leo J. McPherson: Drums