"Alligators in the Lobby starts out on a punchy, melodic high, finishes in a sparse, achingly beautiful whisper, and is inventive, memorable, and rock solid smart everywhere in between. There's nothing not to like here...that rarest of albums that shimmer and sparkle from start to finish and showcases an embarrasment of riches, chief among which are the ten finely wrought, skillfully crafted songs by John Hermanson...Too many candidates for "best song" but the closing combination of "Alva Star" and "Girlfriend" is as strong a one-two heartfelt knockout punch as anything heard in some time."
"John Hermanson's new group may be the next significant Twin Cities pop band. Smart, catchy, sweet and timeless."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Alva Star's music is rock, to put it bluntly, and atmospheric-pop-rock leaning towards emocore, to dress it in industry terms. But at its heart, its music is something much more poignant and unique. It is what happens when pure emotion, the finest of all drugs, is piped through an amplifier."
- Minnesota Daily
Alva Star frontman John Hermanson's career began as one-half of Storyhill, a duo who has sold over 35,000 CDs to date. Though the group garnered a sizable following of loyal fans and industry notice including accolades in Billboard Magazine, Hermanson and then partner Chris Cunningham decided to pursue separate paths in 1997. Hermanson's path since Storyhill has taken him steadily into the rock world.
After a solo album in the fall of '98, on which he toed a delicate balance between unadorned acoustic work and atmospheric pop-rock, Hermanson toured extensively, was nominated for five Minnesota Music Awards, including Best Male Vocalist and Best Songwriter, and produced Brenda Weiler's critically acclaimed CD "Fly Me Back."
Hermanson and three other accomplished musicians became Alva Star. Drummer Peter Anderson has toured and recorded in many bands, including Polara, Astronaut Wife, and the Willie Wisely Trio, playing prominent rock venues throughout the U.S. Bassist Brian Roessler was until recently a member of Spymob, who signed in 1998 with Epic Records. Darren Jackson has enjoyed underground success as Kid Dakota.
The name Alva Star was inspired by a character in the 1966 film, "This Property is Condemned," based on the bittersweet Tennessee Williams one act play. "I was struck by the parallels between Natalie Wood's life and the life of her character, Alva Starr, in the film." Hermanson says. The film's examination of the ways in which we are all both performers and observers is echoed in many of Alva Star's songs.