Starsailor

Record companies should start queuing here.

Starsailor

Without wanting to sound premature, we're onto something here. In the week that Coldplay prove brittle romanticism is a going commercial concern, NME strolls into The Social on a balmy Wednesday evening and finds what can only be described as their natural successors.



Starsailor are from Warrington and this is only their second London gig - but exactly like the first time NME saw Coldplay, they're a group who've arrived fully formed. Tonight they play a six-song acoustic set, and it's amazing.



Singer James Walsh is 20 years old and fits into the current pervading trend for aping Jeff Buckley. Unlike JJ72 and their ilk, however, his songs have a universal feel, a million miles away from the sixth-form method acting of his peers. The first song, 'Fever', buoyed by his casual falsetto and carried forward by a strung-out acoustic melody, instantly puts you in the picture. Starsailor make music that echoes the cracked simplicity of early-'70s Neil Young, and the last song they play ('Alcoholic') is reminiscent of the quavering emotion of Young's most bleak album, 'Tonight's The Night'.



In between, they play four songs that vary from a Verve-esque throb to the kind of acoustic directness that Coldplay are currently revelling in. Record companies should start queuing here.

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