Tom Bailey’s liner notes eloquently and perhaps a tad generously sum up the group’s pop merits. Certainly, his production made the most of their merits; without his sugar-lemon coating, the Stellar* sound would have been grounded in a mundane rock groove. What Bailey teased out were those pure pop moments, the hooky choruses, and added just a dab of experimentation – especially those lovely dub effects that you barely notice, but add so much.
Unfortunately, Stellar* were never innately great, and they’re not aging well. Under Bailey’s production of their biggest tracks is a camouflaged pedestrian rock group, which breaks out on later (sans Bailey) material from the latter part of the decade.
Why release a Stellar* ‘best of’ in 2010? This is very hit-and-miss, and it surely makes more sense just to buy the first couple of albums, where their strengths, not their obvious weaknesses, were identified dressed in finery. GARY STEEL
Sound = 3.5
Music = 2.5