Starsailor emerged in 2000 in a wave of hype they could never hope to justify. As the spotlight fades, their fourth album makes a convincing case to bring it back. These are epic songs full of delicate strokes, Waterboys guitars and heartfelt passion. Writing about loves lost and lessons learned seems to have given singer/songwriter James Walsh real drive and focus, and Ronnie Wood guests to provide unlikely but perfectly suited Faces-style guitar.
For their fourth album, Starsailor have mostly shed the rock overtones of their last LP, 2005’s On the Outside, and returned to the lush, expansive pop sound of their 2003 effort, Silence Is Easy. As ever, lead singer James Walsh’s trembling tenor is the band’s most conspicuous asset, sounding like the voice of a long-lost member of the Buckley family. Though the band is named after one of Tim’s albums, Walsh’s pipes are closer to Jeff’s, with a warm lower range that’s become more prevalent in the band’s sound since their sparse, intense 2001 debut, Love Is Here.
Plan A: conquer the world by sounding like U2, Oasis and Doves. Then support James Blunt. Damn. Plan B: fuse all of the above, add some of 2001's acclaimed Love is Here, and record powerful piano rock about love and loss. It's anthemic (Tell Me it's Not Over) and slushy (Hurts Too Much), but it ….
The fourth album from Starsailor arrives to little fanfare, some bafflingly positive broadsheet coverage aside. Since emerging in Coldplay’s wake at the start of the decade, the band have sold “more than three million albums, won legions of fans and toured the world supporting the Rolling Stones, The Police, U2 and The Killers.” And that’s it, really. They’ve made some albums, they’ve supported some bands.