Starsailor : Love Is Here

Heartfelt debut from the new masters of emotional resonance...

Whether you’re a teflon-hearted futurist, a rock’n’roll thrillseeker, or just in

possession of an easily snapped attention span, talk of a new musical language

is always irresistible. The idea that somebody, somewhere, is out there making

previously unimagined music, testing the limits of their equipment and sanity in

the name of progression, is an enduringly exciting one. However, there are

people who consider any deviation from this path to be a betrayal of music, of

rock’n’roll, of [I]art[/I], godammit – and to be honest, these are not people who

you want knowing your home phone number.

For complaining thatStarsailor, four young men who simply play guitars and keyboards and sing beautifully about human relationships, don’t push the boundaries of musical language is like reprimanding someone who speaks perfect French for not learning Esperanto instead. Fluency, creative syntax, ease of expression: these are rare and cherishable things, and as a result of these skills, Starsailor have produced a debut album of real emotional depth.

Yes, all the accusations levelled at them by their detractors – they’re in

thrall to their heroes, they work within well-mined conventions – might be

pretty undeniable, but ‘Love Is Here’ is not a record that needs excuses made

for it. It possesses an alluring assurance that means that even at its most

vulnerable – the crushed drug-buddy betrayal of ‘Coming Down’, the tender

defiance of ‘Alcoholic’ – there’s an edge that pushes them [I]way[/I] beyond

the feathery, big-eyed, hatchling indie of Coldplay. It’s partly thanks to James

Walsh’s remarkable tuning fork of a voice; partly the sense of effortlessness

that comes with accomplished musicians playing instinctively. And surprisingly,

given James’ interview reticence, it’s a lyrically deft record, a sequence of

hazy, enigmatic vignettes about meeting strangers in cinemas or while sheltering

from the weather, about arguing all night and watching the clock until dawn.

These are songs crowded with family, friends, lovers – [I]”Don’t you know you’ve

got your Daddy’s eyes/And Daddy was an alcoholic” being the most striking

example – a cast that fits into the intimate patterns and human warmth of the


Most importantly – and a real kick in the head for the anti-traditionalists –

every one of these eleven songs embeds itself in your mind, their obvious

influences – Buckleys, Young, Morrison, The Verve – synthesised into something

mysteriously moving. Even at their sturdiest – the straight-arrow folk fury of

‘Poor Misguided Fool’, the plain, plaintive title track – the songs come spiked

with that voice. You cannot legislate for the euphoric swoop of ‘Lullaby’,

the tough-love rawness of ‘Talk Her Down’; you cannot smash ‘Love Is Here’ into

its constituent parts. Because, whatever language Starsailor speak, they speak

it from the heart.

Victoria Segal