Review: Estrella – “We Will Go On”

After three years of waiting, the long awaited follow up to Estrella’s stunning debut album is finally upon us.

Since the release of Come Out and Play way back in 2012, the boys from Thurso have played the UK from top to bottom alongside some of the biggest name’s in rock and they have amassed quite the following as a result as well as making a few trips across into Europe supporting the likes of Robin Beck and they’re just back from a lengthy tour with Enuff Z’Nuff.

Later this month though, not only do they play Download and Scotland’s very own Wildfire Festival, they’ll also be unleashing this, We Will Go On, upon unsuspecting world and a legion of Estrella Warrior’s the world over.

Yes, I am an Estrella fan, but after repeated plays I’ll openly admit that Come Out and Play started to feel stale and over time it lost the magic I’d originally fallen in love with but thankfully, there’s a lot more variety on offer with We Will Go On and there’s a definite progression in the band’s overall sound and direction this time around.

Anyone familiar with the band’s previous album will have some idea what to expect but to borrow a greatly overused analogy, We Will Go On takes everything we know about the Estrella formula and turns it up to 11 because as we all, know 11 is one more.

The album as a whole has a good range to keep you going to the very end. While Hard to Get and Rock City are air pumping rock anthems, My Own Way and Reason show the mellower side to the band and a side we’d actually like to see much more often.

Reason and This Heaven are strong contender’s for being named best song on the album and are quite possibly the best tracks the band have penned to date. Reason in particular could be amazingly realised in a cheesy 80’s power ballad music video set in a dusty airfield with some strong wind effects and a setting sun before heading into a deserted aircraft hanger for the final chorus. Also, a mountain top solo wouldn’t go amiss.

If I was compare both Estrella albums in movie terms, then I’d say their first album was Batman Begins and We Will Go On is The Dark Knight. While the first laid the groundwork for what was to follow, it was by no means perfect and the second offering is more mature and more refined and while it still has a few issues of it’s own, the inevitable sequel has a lot to live up to when the second chapter is as good as this.

After listening to We Will Go On for nearly a week now I can gladly say that it has a much longer shelf life than Come Out and Play. The more refined song writing on display have made for a much more diverse album and one that’s a pleasure to listen to again and again without the fear of things growing stale after a few listens.

Overall, We Will Go On is a great offering from one of Scotland’s hottest bands and while it may still have the rock sensibilities of days gone by, it certainly brings that classic formula into 2015 with a fresh new sound. Estrella have done me proud and actually delivered on expectation and made an album that I don’t want to through out of the window of a moving car.

by Edward Laing