Posted by Graham Chalmers.
Reviewed on 1st January 2004.
Live at Joseph's Well on Saturday, 1st June 2002
Review featured with permission from www.charmonline.co.uk
Each time I see the classy Star*Bodixa, I see another step forward taking place before my eyes. At first, after winning the national Bright Young Things competition aged barely 17 in 1998, progress appeared slow and small. Now each year seems to bring them irresistibly closer to their goal of proper pop success.
Tonight is an industry showcase to show off their debut singles and forthcoming album And They Danced On Glass on a proper label, Energy Records.
The intelligent and polite Star*Bodixa now look like an indie band and the single, Fairytaled has a great central riff worthy of an indie band that actually sells real records.
Live the five talented youngsters are tight enough to pass at a national level, which is where they must now focus, though if they want to truely conquer they have to get tighter still to the point where they hit every nuance and beat of every song spot-on even if they're actually thinking of what they've having for tea when they're finally off stage.
At heart, however, Star*Bodixa are not an indie band. The uncool way bassist Daniel Norton and lead guitarist David Refearn 'wig out' on their rockier tracks like drunken kids on a bouncy castle is enough to prove they are not built to be Idlewild.
But then as beautiful ballads like Balloon and Rivers show, they're too good for that anyway.
What makes the band special, apart from their range and sophistication musically, is the passion inside their core waiting to burst out. That core is best expressed by romantic lead singer Anna Elias.
While co-vocalist Emily Stevens provides a stable base for the songs with her acoustic guitar, Anna melts and burns, a torch waiting to be lit into full glare.
She's always had a shy, unsure side holding back her inbuilt need and ability to communicate deep emotions but each time I see her a little bit more of her reserve is lifted.
She now not only sings the songs, she acts them out, using her hands and eyes and body in a natural but moving fashion.
She could be Tina Turner if she let the beast totally loose - but that's just a joke, she's more like a young Barbara Streisand, hugely gifted but not quite aware of how good she is yet.
The ebb and flow of tension in the majority of the group's well-arranged songs wouldn't suit such vulgar histrionics in any case, though a catchy Star*Bodixa equivalent of an Everybody Hurts or Why Does It Always Rain On Me would'nt hurt their ambitions.
This most professional of young groups want to achieve success on their own terms by charting their own musical direction.
It's going to be hard. But the effort will be worth it.
If they can put up with all the tiring slings and arrows of misfortune and level of general bullshit that being an 'up and coming' band entails these days I tell you Star*Bodixa will be as big as The Corrs within five years.