There is no better feeling in this world than having inside information. Gordon Gekko made a living off of it, and Snowden got in trouble for sharing it. With the release of their fourth album, Songs from Stardust Road, Sweet Cyanide may be music’s best kept secret. With its rich sound that echoes grunge rock’s golden era, Stardust Road not only resonates with Gen-Xers, but fits in perfectly with today’s 90s obsession. Singer & songwriter Sal Scoca takes us on an emotional journey through the rock star life; bringing us the highest highs on “Wishing Well,” and some of the darker moments on “Solitude” and “Zero Hour.” The album begins innocent enough with our rock star protagonist and his band blasting an audience with power chords, courtesy of Angelo Fariello, on the title track before delving into the build up confessional of “Solitude.” The glory of 80s glam rock comes out in the form of infectious drums beats and a wicked guitar solo on “Wishing Well,” but the lyrics tell the more sinister story about how our rock star gets taken advantage of by posers who claim to be his friend.
We learn more about our rock star’s tumultuous past on “Damage Done,” a pure metal sludge fest of chaotic beauty brought to life by Sal’s calming voice. “All My Broken Dreams” is the song that breaks the fourth wall illusion by reminding listeners that if you are not prepared to walk on Stardust Road, then it will eat you for breakfast! The downward spiral continues for a few songs until Mike Bambace’s thunderous drums pump “New Illusions” into your skull. This is the bender song; one where our rock star basically says, “fuck it!” and goes hard one last time before trailing off into an ominous piano coda. By the album’s final song with a title, “Ghost” our rock star finally met his fate. “I’m well aware the ghost is me,” he proclaims in Ziggy Stardust fashion before fading into an mishmash of various sounds and muffled voices.
What makes Songs from Stardust Road so unique is how it blends multiple rock styles into a theatrical narrative. Like a chameleon, this album sprinkles listeners with a mixture of songs that are reminiscent of Linkin Park, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains, and Tool just to name a few. The throwback style works here because the emotion Stardust evokes brings us back to a time when we praised visceral rock music for tearing out a chunk of our soul. On top of the storytelling, the production is top notch, and Sal, Angelo, and Mike are at the top of their game instrumentally. Now that you have the inside scope on today’s music, use this information wisely. After this album, I don’ t think Sweet Cyanide will be a secret anymore.