Posted February 18, 2007 by Mike Mineo in Features

The Morning Stars


Following the recent trend of familial successes in the music industry, The Morning Stars are comprised of guitarist Mars Ivic, bassist Michael Ivic, and drummer Donn Dixon. On their pessimistically titled debut album You Can’t Change The World, the first thing written in the liner notes is “PLAY THIS LOUD”. Alright, fair enough. Mars and Michael share vocal duties, almost evenly. Out of the nine tracks on the album, Mars takes the lead vocals on five and Michael does the same on four. Ironically, the order for each is every other song. It appears that Mr. and Mrs. Ivic sure emphasized the value of sharing equally. The album was created out of their home studio in Ontario, Canada from June 2005 to Halloween 2005, with the mixing being finished around this time last year. It was released last month on Volume Records. As far as the production, the album is quite impressive. The Morning Stars are strictly alternative, classic rock ‘n’ roll, and punk, citing influences such as The Rolling Stones and The Smiths as primary beneficiaries. It certainly shows as well. With boisterous guitars, fascinating bass lines, and constantly lively percussion, The Morning Stars certainly know how set the tone for excitement. Apart from the fact that Mars and Michael are both brothers, they also remind me of a pair of musical brothers from the UK who go by the names of Noel and Liam. Sure, The Morning Stars are far from even sounding English but the ego and general presence is definitely there. Just by looking at their photos, both brothers appear smug in their abilities to craft enjoyable rock songs, even sporting similar sunglasses to the Gallagher’s. Their confidence follows in their music as well, with both brothers reaching impressive vocal lengths, all which collide smoothly with their straightforward alternative delivery.


“Hearts For The Living” is a tidy opener. Initiated by the rattle of Dixon’s drums, Mars’ finely executed guitar screams out, preceding the moment his own vocals blast into the loose atmosphere. The structure is generally consistent, with the typical verse-chorus format being complemented by various bridges and closures, all of which seem fitting. Incidentally, it appears that the band focused most of their energy on the instrumentation and melodies. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but fans looking for lyrical depth will turn most of their songs off immediately. While the lyrics are simplistic, it most likely was intentionally done to make the songs easier to sing along to at live shows. Mars even proclaims in the middle of “You Can’t Change The World”, “I don’t know what to sing right here”. Well, the brothers do value honesty as well. “Hearts For The Living” is certainly that type of song, being the one that gets audiences on their feet based on pure catchiness, boasting confidence, and youthful expression. With the energy involved, it’s a very enjoyable song, even if five minutes is a bit too much. Mars once again demonstrates his genuine touch on “Steal My Love”, which is my favorite song on You Can’t Change The World. This one reminds me of those 90s guitar-based bands that many secretly enjoyed, such as Collective Soul and Fastball. While the song’s depth exceeds no more than it’s highly enjoyable chorus, “Steal My Love” is, simply put, quite fun to listen to. If this was released in the mid-90s, “Steal My Love” would have most likely been a hit. It even reminds me of what The Lemonheads would have sounded like if Evan Dando could have seen straight more often, though many prefer that grittier style. “Wrong” features Michael Ivic on vocals. As expected, he doesn’t sound that much different than his brother Mars. With the same snarl and swagger, he carries “Wrong” nicely into a song with several enjoyable hooks over a melody consisting of loneliness and ignorance. It seems that The Morning Stars didn’t create You Can’t Change The World to spur any new genres or influences. In fact, they are right, this album can’t change the world. But regardless, their goal appears to be to want people to enjoy the album. If fun factor was indeed the aspiration, The Morning Stars have certainly accomplished that with nine songs that are linear but also are very enjoyable due to their simplistic nature. Either way, if you’re looking for inspiration to write a great chorus, look in the direction of The Morning Stars.


The Morning Stars – Hearts For The Living



The Morning Stars – Steal My Love



The Morning Stars – Wrong



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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound. I used to write for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].