Starsailor were one of those bands that did well for a time when melancholy indie was popular, a time when Keane could mysteriously sell millions of records and vapid clichés (musical and lyrical) were enough to get a number one album.
Starsailor sounded like they knew who Coldplay were and what rock was, they just couldn’t quite do either. We got early albums Love Is Here (2001) and Silence Is Easy (2003) and played them a few times wondering what the point was, before filing them under D. For dull.
Still, that was then, when you could trip over a feeble melancholy indie band every time you left the house. Today, Starsailor have the market to themselves and we’re actually quite enjoying this. If you want to be mean it’s still as flaccid as ever, and they skirt round the sound of better bands like a cat following ducks round a pond, but then again James Walsh has a pleasant voice and the music is melodic. What more do you want, excitement? They constantly sound like they’re on the verging of rocking out — they never do, but all the moves are there. Its downbeat sound is heartfelt enough make your subconscious feel it means more than it does, too.
This is their first new album in nine years, and we could probably become fans if they limited their output to once a decade. They’ll probably do OK and admittedly benefit from still sounding relevant. It’s a decent background music album.