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 Starsailor

British Rock Band

Love Is Here 2002

Silence is Easy 2003

On the Outside 2005

All the Plans 2009

 

 

 

Starsailor

Love is Here - 7.5

Tie Up My Hands/ Poor Misguided Fool/ Alcoholic/ Lullaby/ Way to Fall/ Fever/ She Just Wept/ Talk Her Down/ Love is Here/ Good Souls/ Coming Down.

Only very occasionally a debut album comes along and takes the breath away. So it was with Love is Here. Every song is a gem, every song enters the sub conscious. I have seen this band live three times and they have improved every single time. James Walsh has a wonderfully emotive voice to go with an excellent stage presence and the band are consummate musicians. This comes over beautifully on their first album - no filler material here - just beautifully crafted songs full of sing-a-long choruses. Above all it's the overall feel of the album that makes it so successful. It's okay having a string of stand-out songs but to mould them into a whole is another matter. Love is Here does this admirably. Starsailor were one of the British vanguard of groups that included the likes of Coldplay, Elbow, Keane, the Verve - serious bands that demanded to be listened to. There is an obvious and lasting charms to these songs.

 

Silence Is Easy - 6.5

Music Was Saved/ Fidelity/ Some of Us/ Silence is Easy/ Telling Them/ Shark Food/ Bring My Love/ White Dove/ Four to the Floor/ Born Again/ Restless Heart

Less immediate than Love is Here, this is a more inward looking collection, notable for the fact that two of the tracks were produced by Phil Spector which in itself must have been quite an experience for the band, although probably not one to repeat. James Walsh' voice is spot on again but this time the material isn't quite as fresh and invigorating and there is almost a sameness about some of the themes and lyrics. More added strings but not as instantly melodic as Love Is Here, although it definitely improves with subsequent plays. But be warned that some of the songs such as Shark Food are rather repetitive.

 

On the Outside - 5.5

In the Crossfire/ Counterfeit Life/ In My Blood, Faith Hope Love/ I Don't Know/ Way Back Home/ Keep Us Together/ Get Out While You Can/ This Time/ White Light/ Jeremiah

For their third outing, Starsailor turned much heavier and, in doing so, lost some of their charm with Walsh's vocals being almost swallowed up by other band members on songs such as In My Blood. At other times the full production makes them sound more akin to Muse than the Starsailor of their first album. The regular aggressive guitar rifts make this much more of a heavy rock fan's album and I miss the whimsy of the first album and sections of the second. The songs are full, but seem to lack much of the charm of earlier efforts. I'm not sure whether this was the product of a band growing up and moving on or a band slightly losing their originality in search of something more mainstream.

 

All the Plans - 6

Tell Me It's Not Over/ Boy in Waiting/ The Thames/ All the Plans/ Neon Sky/ You Never Get What You Deserve/ Hurts Too Much/ Stars and Stripes/ Change My Mind/ Listen Up/ Safe at Home

Seven years on from Love is Here comes All the Plans. Whilst many bands shatter and break up, Starsailor have survived as a unit. So what has evolved in the four years since On the Outside? Well James Walsh's themes are pretty much the same - love and girlfriends. The album rocks along with songs like The Thames and All the Plans. His voice is the same but different, breaking at times into a cod falsetto. Otherwise it's pretty much the same fare. Perhaps the band are getting rather repetitive and in need of an injection of originality. That doesn't mean that this is a bad album, but in my book their output is always going to be measured against the outstanding first album. Perhaps the delivery and the songs have become slightly too cosy.