Starcrawler sound like they’re caught between two worlds on “Hollywood Ending,” a glittery L.A. interzone between Seventies riff-rockers like Cheap Trick and the rougher, ponderous melodies of Dinosaur Jr. It’s an unusual pairing — not nearly as natural as the way grunge artists blended Aerosmith with Black Flag — but the band figured out a clever way of rolling it out, starting with jittery, Tom Petty-ish verses before going off on a loose and jammy outro that really has nothing to do with the rest of the song. By the time they get to that epic, final third, which is just waves of sighing guitars and frontwoman Arrow de Wilde whispering (mostly inaudibly, maybe for some subliminal effect), you’re hooked. It’s so catchy, it’s clear why they released it as a single instead of saving it for a follow-up to last year’s self-titled debut.
Beyond the music, part of the song’s appeal is de Wilde herself. She sounds confident, even though she sings “You broke my heart,” as she lists all the way some dummy walked all over her. Her choruses of, “How was I to know, I was on my own?” sound somewhat sad, but there’s a certain vindication in her voice. But it never sounds like she’s seeking revenge, more that she’s just on her own personal trip — forgiving (perhaps) but certainly not forgetting. Her whispering at the end — the real end — could be a memory, a hex, a malediction, but she doesn’t feel it’s notable enough to bring up in the mix. The way she’s put it in press statements is, “In the song I pray for ‘The End’ — the end of being lied to, toyed with, the end of false friendships and relationships … Let me walk into the light.” Any way you cut it, she’s over it. And she’s made a point of declaring it with a song that’s hard to forget.