Star & Micey’s I Can’t Wait:
Misses and Redemptions
While listening to Star & Micey you might suddenly crave a cold beer, a back porch, and the hand of your boyfriend or girlfriend, preferably on a chilly, wind-whispering October night. When I first encountered this folk-pop trio from Memphis, I was in luck; the weather was just right, I had a few Oktoberfests in the fridge, and friends were on their way.
The band’s staple members include Joshua Cosby on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Geoff Smith on vocals, and Nick Redmond on lead guitar and keys. But it would be a misrepresentation to say that this band is solely a trio performance. Instead, a game of musical chairs is played with other local musicians, including Jody Stephens of Big Star and Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Jesse Munson. A menagerie of instruments appear as well—an accordion, a fiddle, and a banjo to name a few.
Paste magazine has a stunning live performance by Star & Micey, and they praise the group, saying “Star & Micey have crafted then steadily smoothed out a brand of folksy pop that brings to mind Memphis legends Big Star and The Avett Brothers.” A comparison to The Avett Brothers is perhaps a stretch; they lack a certain refinement and made a few questionable aesthetic choices in a couple of tracks on their 2009 sophomore EP. But perhaps Star & Micey are on the cusp of achieving something lasting, something wholly enjoyable. Their mini-concert for Paste is fun to watch. The band’s energy is infectious and heartfelt; this could be a band you need to see live before forming a definitive opinion.
Back to the first night I heard Star & Micey: One friend described Joshua Cosby’s vocals as strangely “romantic,” as if he was singing right to you. Their single, “I Can’t Wait,” is effortless and relaxing, but not with the tranquilizing effect of Bon Iver; instead, the steady clapping and background vocals keep you moving forward while giving you something to rest upon. The lyrics tell a story: One of my favorites, “No Pets Allowed,” begins with, “On a corner in Memphis, I met my friend. / He had the same flannel shirt that he was wearin’ when / gave him two cigarettes, and he sang me a song by the Beatles. / It’s a long way to be lonely.” “No Pets Allowed,” which is trenched in eeriness and pessimism on the likelihood of second chances, sits alongside tracks like “Soul Stormin’,” a beachy tune about staying grateful while navigating life, and the lamely titled “Love,” about, well, love. While the album features a few disappointments, these don’t deflect from the success of “I Can’t Wait” and “No Pets Allowed”—especially not after watching the online mini-concert that includes songs not found on the EP.
Star & Micey are currently on tour with Carolina Story, an indie-folk duo hailing from Nashville. Catch them live at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack in downtown Little Rock on Wednesday, October 24.