Colin Mee is riding high on an artistic second wind that carries him far from the atmospheric clatter he churned out as the former guitarist for Deerhunter. Now fronting a trio dubbed Hollow Stars alongside Josh Blanton (bass) and Adam Bruneau (drums), Mee focuses on the art of solid, experimental pop songwriting.
His debut release, a 7-inch on Deerhunter bassist Josh Fauver's Army of Bad Luck imprint, embraces the spirit of exploration, but not at the expense of the song itself. The approach is just as therapeutic as the masculine metal riffage of his other band Chopper, but with Hollow Stars Mee keeps the music closer to his heart and mind. "I hit a rough patch after leaving Deerhunter and was feeling lousy," he admits. "I decided to quit drinking and when I did I had the mental capacity to be creative again."
That moment of clarity yielded an earnest fresh start that finds him showcasing his baritone voice. "I've always liked singers like Johnny Cash, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen," he adds. "Their songs have always provided a frame of reference for me to use what I've got."
"Only Your Love" dovetails Mee's voice with Replacements-style rock and spectral gothic inflections paired with a penchant for gorgeous melodies and minimal arrangements.
The B-side, "In Herald Dreams We Wither," bares the mark of the shoegazer vibe, but the deliberate, albeit surreal allegiance to structure gives the song a life of its own. "I put a lot of thought into what kinds of chords I was using and how I was sequencing them together," he says. "I wanted this to be thoughtful and break new ground in that sense."