Starbomb seemed to appear out of nowhere last year, releasing a self-titled comedy album that quickly rose the charts on iTunes, and hitting the No. 1 spot on the comedy chart. After a year or so of waiting, the second album for Starbomb has come out, entitled “Player Select”; it is the brainchild of animator and let’s-player Egoraptor (Arin Hansen) and Ninja Sex Party band members Danny Sexbang (Dan Avidan) and Ninja Brian (Brian Wecht). A result of American Fair Use laws, this album acts as Starbomb’s second celebration of video games and nerd culture in general, parodying video games old and new, as well as characters belonging to toy brands of old.
As with their first album, Starbomb doesn’t fail to include a breadth of generic themes and stylistic motifs. Music in “Player Select” is composed of synthesized beats, echoing eight- and 16-bit midi files that used to score games in the Super Nintendo era. These synthetic tunes are strung throughout the album and made into beats typical of rock, rap and even the faux-broadway “Inky’s Lament.” With all the thematic variety, however, enjoyment of the songs certainly hinges upon the ability to enjoy the sounds of Ninja Brian’s keyboard-based music, as every single track is written with this style in mind. Keeping that in mind, “Player Select” is nothing if not inventive with how to keep the sounds of 16-bit music fresh.
Contributing all of the rapping in the album, Egoraptor keeps a good rhythm going, never letting up the energy, and sounding clear enough in his delivery that any listener who desired to do so could rap along with the tracks in the album. Likewise, Sexbang’s singing is better than his absurd stage name might imply, displaying a voice that is not autotuned at all, but instead layered to achieve different effects. Together, the raps and singing come together well, often conversing with each other in songs like “New Pokerap,” where Brock attempts to fill Ash in on the new Pokemon that exist since he was hospitalized in Starbomb’s first album.
“Player Select” covers the gamut of video game humor, going back to a stylistic radio drama in “Atari Mystery Hour” and then quickly turning around to parody the seemingly innocent nature of Minecraft in “Minecraft is for Everyone.” The songs are short and punchy, usually focusing on a single punchline and ending before the joke can wear thin on the listener. As a parody album though, the minimum requirement to fully experience the joking nature of the songs is an understanding of the topics being covered, enhancing the enjoyment of songs such as “Smash!” when a listener hears Markiplier playing the announcer.
Coming as the second album for a band who bases their music on jokes surrounding video games also presents a few barriers for new listeners. Several songs like the previously mentioned “New Pokerap,” “The Hero of Rhyme” and “The Simple Plot of Metal Gear Solid” are based around running jokes that were established in “Starbomb.” In an effort to lift these prerequisites though, the entire first album can be found for free on YouTube.
The album clocks in at around a half-hour, though costs the usual $9.99, which may act as a further deterrent for listeners, though the comedic nature of the album manages to keep it from overstaying its welcome. If you are a part of the intended audience for “Player Select” then you are sure to enjoy it for the expansion of the original album that it is. If you are new to the band or are a gamer looking to laugh, sample the original album and make a decision from there.
Rating: 4.5 stars