Starsailor : Good Souls

So far, so good.

Wigan's Starsailor have already been hailed as 2001's sky-walking saviours of indie rock - which, make no mistake, leaves me as dubious as you. But the evidence is becoming irrefutable as James Walsh and his fellow missionaries continue their God-given quest with this beatific cloudburst of an affirmative guitar anthem. Climbing to Olympian heights without once succumbing to chest-beating bombast, 'Good Souls' pays simple homage to all the decent types who make life worth living - imagine an Embrace lyric riding a Verve chorus, with echoes of Bono or Ian McCulloch in their less messianic moments. You keep waiting for it to collapse into a morass of self-aggrandising bluster but the crunch never comes. Soaring idealism and chiming guitars are a hard marriage to maintain, but the 'Sailor are keeping a steady hand on the rudder. So far, so good.

Stephen Dalton

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