Lael Neale: Star Eaters Delight (Sub Pop) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023  

Lael Neale

Star Eaters Delight

Sub Pop

Apr 20, 2023 Issue #71 - Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout Bookmark and Share

Romeo and Juliet died for somebody’s sins but not mine. Lael Neale’s second release for Sub Pop finds the artist stylistically pushing boundaries with her beloved Omnichord while bringing an array of new sounds into the mix as well. The primarily folk-based underpinning of Neale’s prior album, 2021’s Acquainted With Night, here gives way to unexpected avenues that find Neale confidently astride punk poetry, New Wave synth beats, rumbling surf guitar riffs, and deliciously outmoded antiquity.

Star Eaters Delight’s towering peak comes in the eight-minute masterpiece, “In Verona.” Neale opens the curtain to reveal a recasting of original sin in the form of the death of Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers. “Let the wine spill down the stone steps,” Neale incants with a “what’s done is done” level of nonchalance. Further references to reliquaries and catacombs cast a chilling pall to Neale’s call for humanity to “cast no stone.” The song’s ultimate prayer of “who’s gonna stop the sun from setting” accompanies the inevitable fraying of the song’s final collapse inwards.

Neale’s range over the course of the album is far-flung given the album’s overall essence of spare economy. The opening “I Am the River” puts Neale’s Omnichord through the paces with a heady mix of proto-punk garage rock blown amp Chuck Berry-style fuzzed-out soloing from Neale’s partner in crime, Guy Blakeslee. Blakeslee accompanies Neale on every track, with the slow rolling surf rock riffs of “No Holds Barred” being another highlight.

The frenetic clip of “Faster Than the Medicine,” with its SpinART inspired bass lines, makes for the best New Order song this side of Power, Corruption and Lies. While the ancient hiss that envelops songs like “Must Be Tears” and the closing “Lead Me Blind” feel they were recorded in the same era as Washington Phillips’ scratchy Columbia 78s, with similarly odd instrumentation to boot. Given Star Eaters Delight’s briefer running time than its predecessor, Neale has put together a tight package of an album with no stray notes but one also brimming with a sly multitude of ideas. Kudos to Neale for not playing it safe and simultaneously doing something wholly different than anyone else out there. (

Author rating: 9/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.