Magnolia Thunderpussy

Starsailor - Love Is Here


Format: CD
Label: Capitol
Catalog: 36448
Rel. Date: 01/08/2002
UPC: 724353644826

Love Is Here
Artist: Starsailor
Format: CD
Used: Available

Formats and Editions


Starsailor may ultimately be guilty of nothing more than timing their arrivalto coincide with the likes of Coldplay and Travis, two comparably sensitiveand folk-inclined rock outfits that they have been lumped with in reviews. Theymay endear themselves to a certain segment of American music listener by bowingto the flawed greatness that was Tim Buckley in naming their band after oneof the ambitious folkie’s more experimental albums. Starsailor even goesso far as to use the same typeface for their cover art as was used on Buckley’s1970 album, complementing a cover photograph of railroad tracks that is suitablymetaphorical and warmly vague in a fuzzy ‘70s fashion (the tracks seemto meet at a vanishing point on the horizon; the title floats above that point,which is an illusion, since railroad tracks are forever parallel).

But comparisons, superficial or complex, only reveal so much. The music hasto stand or fall on its own merits, and that’s where Starsailor can outshinethe competition. Guitarist and vocalist James Walsh has a clear, high voicethat sparkles like Travis’s Fran Healy and emotes like Radiohead’sThom Yorke, which goes a long way toward selling powerful lines like “Youhave your daddy’s eyes, and daddy was an alcoholic” (“Alcoholic”)or “Daddy, I’ve got nothing left, my life is good, my love’sa mess” (“She Just Wept”). There is a gentle pull in every songon Love Is Here; sometimes it’s a subtle device like the swirling arrangementin “Talk Her Down” or the inherent power of “Good Souls.”Sometimes it’s in the tension between Walsh’s electric/acoustic presentationor the choice of keyboardist Barry Westhead’s beefy organ fills as opposedto his delicate piano accompaniments. However they accomplish it, Starsailorhas managed to make an album of surging elegance that draws the listener inwithout ever making a spectacle of itself.
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