Friday, February 13, 2015

FDF Volume 3 Issue 363 - Starsailor - Love Is Here

Album – Love is Here
Artist – Starsailor
Key Players – James Stelfox – bass. Ben Byrne - drums, Barry Westhead- keyboards/guitar. James Walsh – vocals and guitar

Produced By – Steve Osborne

Release Date – October 8, 2001

Overview – This is the debut album from the Warrington/Leigh, England based band “Starsailor”. Formed in 2000 at a local college the band didn't have many rolling members. Walsh, who was heavily influenced by singer Tim Buckley suggested the band be called “Starsailor” sharing the same title as an album from Buckley. They'd garner a great reputation as a live band and land a major label deal shortly after. The album was released to critical acclaim and would land at #2 on the UK album charts. Since this debut they've released three additional albums. In 2009 Walsh put the band on hold to focus on a solo effort, but the band reformed in 2014

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 11 song 57 minute album is a little deceiving (the final track ends at 3:07 then runs for a while before a hidden track is played). "Tie Up My Hands" opens the alubm up with quiet acoustic guitar playing and some quiet keyboard parts with Walsh singing. It sets the tone for the collection with its pretty and “clean” sound. “Poor Misguided Fool" showcases the work from Westhead as the piano is very much up in the mix. It has a bit more a drive to the track as the acoustic guitar has more of an “attack” but the piano really stands out. “Aloholic” is another showcase for Walsh and Westhead, but Byrne kicks it up a notch after the first verse. “Lullaby” has a bit more layerd guitars and Stelfox is brought up in the mix. Walsh teeters on some falsettos that are just within his range and the chorus has that wonderful 70's folk feel with Westhead going more with organ rather than piano. There is a longer “guitar solo” but what stands out on this track is if you are a fan of Jeff Buckley, how much a resemlence you'll hear in the vocals. After two “uptempo” tracks the band seems to go deep on "Way to Fall" which, per the norm, runs the piano and guitar as the main instruments. After a bit Stelfox seems to take it under his own and before you know it the band opens up with soaring levels on the chorus. “Fever” feels similar. "She Just Wept" is a pretty track that leads with the acoustic guitar and just Walsh singing and as the second verse gets underway more instruments come in giving it that fuller sound. Acoustic guitar and vocals right from the start open
"Talk Her Down" before the band comes in. Again the the mix is strong so nobody really steps on the other. Westhead uses the organ on this track in a dominant role giving the song all the more urgency.
"Love Is Here" is about as much as a ballad could be. The whole record feels like love songs and ballads, but this one in particular. The song that got me in to the band came in “Good Souls”. The vibe of the track with its simple bass line/guitar and Walsh is just fine form really pulls it all together and the chorus just is one of those “fun to sing” along choruses. A dozen years on, this is still the “go to” song off the record. The record ends with “Coming Down”. The song itself is just a bit over 3 minutes long and includes under a minute of humming from the band members. The humming is an alternate take of background accompaniment for the song "
You can listen to the whole record here.

Where are they now? - Since the reformation the band has a played a few live shows and one would only assume they are working on new studio material.

FDF Overall Take – Its been years since I've listened to this record and it is still what I remember it as being, a pretty solid debut. Around this time I was ravenous for “this type” of band. Coldplay, doves they too scratched this itch and Starsailor then came along. It's a nice listen, you could put it on and not offend anyone (dinner party, late evening cookout type setting). Might not be something you toss on to run a road race, but a rewarding listen for sure.

Links, find out more, follow em and buy!

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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