As America's latest pop delivery from the U.K., Starsailor has already made ripples across the pond. Its sound is somewhat fresh but many of the songs are teetering on the edge of power ballad status. It is apparent that the music of this indie rock quartet from Northwest England is a backlash from the more experimental and ponderous work of established bands such as Radiohead. The group's mild cheesiness is refreshing if you are in the mood to clean your palate and return to the lighter side of British pop.
The cut "Let Her Down," off of the group's debut album, Love is Here, is a driving and emotional tune complete with a rolling piano countermelody and pumping bridge section. The non-resolute ending, during a live performance, would leave the audience waiting for more.
Starsailor is poppier than pop but definitely talented and avoid the contrivance that plagues many contemporary rock artists. The album cover and liner notes are virtually nonexistent; there are no elaborate headshots or pythons - thank you very much, Britney Spears.
The band is a good example of an interesting phenomenon. Starsailor, of course, has its own influences, but mention a fact of its sound development that is becoming more and more common. Rather than directly attributing their sound to a past artist, the group pays homage second handedly. Group members list Bob Dylan as an influence. And although they didn't listen to Dylan's music an awful lot, they did listen to the music of bands that directly mimicked his sounds.
This was something that was almost too obvious for me to notice in the first place but lead singer James Walsh sounds a whole lot like Robert Plant. Starsailor is no Led Zeppelin but nonetheless, still a good addition to the pop scene. While the band may be a step back in popular music for Great Britain, Starsailor is a step ahead for America. Look out Carson Daly, the guys just might blow Total Request Live away.
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