Many things have changed during Thirteen Stars’ nearly 13 years as a band: lineups, relationships, jobs and everything else under the sun. It’s come at a cost to its formerly rigorous touring and recording schedule, but with all these changes, its members have plenty to say on their upcoming album, “The Price of Progress.”
“It’s been a while since we’ve had an album out. Literally, like the album title says, it was the price of progress,” said lead singer Scott Starns. “Everyone in the band has had a lot of life in general going on. We’ve gotten married or had kids or both, and a lot of that has taken up a lot of time, in a good way. It’s made us more mature and gave us a little more substance behind our writing.”
Starns started the Oklahoma City-based group with bassist Annatomik in 1999 before adding guitarist Jason Deal, drummer Mike Mosteller and keyboardist Ryan Lassiter over time. Two full-length records and two EPs came, as did spots supporting like-minded power poppers including Maroon 5, The All- American Rejects, Blue October and Cheap Trick.
The one thing that had stayed relatively unaffected over time is the Stars’ catchy — but maybe too steady — pop-rock sound. “Progress” brought an end to that, giving into every style that showed its face. One track is built upon a synth-pop foundation; others delve into a bit of a country influence.
“In the past, we always tried to write under the assumption of what Thirteen Stars is supposed to sound like,” Starns said. “When we started with this album, we threw everything Thirteen Stars was out the window, and wrote in any style that came out, with no borders.”
He noted that the transformation won’t alienate old fans, but the disc will give listeners — and the band itself — something fresh and different to enjoy, which was an important step for the members to take. They debut it Friday at VZD’s.
“There’s still some of the old sound in there, but I enjoyed not having any limits,” he said. “You don’t want to sound the same. You want to grow as an artist and not feel stuck into a certain style of song. Opening that gate allowed us to grow a lot more.”
Thirteen Stars hopes to find a little more time for touring between family and work lives in the coming months, and the album is the perfect vehicle to do just that.
“It’s an excuse to get out and play again more. Getting out and playing live, it’s why we do what we do,” Starns said. “To have new songs … and eventually having people learn to sing along with you, that’s the sort of thing that means the world to me.”