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.
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