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CD Reviews:  Starsailor: Love is Here

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Many comparisons have been drawn to Jeff Buckley's influence on both Starsailor, the band, and its 21-year-old singer/songwriter James Walsh. While it's clear the vocal stylings are similarly dark and emotional, and maybe these young Brits did, in fact, grown up listening to Buckley records, I argue the creative commonality ends there.

Britain's newest hit makers are fast forming a style and a following all their own! Starsailor's debut record, Love Is Here, is more musically charming than Travis, more bright and inspiring than Radiohead, and stands as a better written collection of songs than anything I've heard from Jeff Buckley. "Tie Up My Hands" kicks the record off in true Brit Pop fashion, when drifting acoustic guitars and harmonizing bass lines eventually give way to a brooding chorus reminiscent of Coldplay. "Poor Misguided Fool" picks things up further, continuing the strumming acoustics but adding beautifully haunting piano lines. Walsh's vocals, while seemingly painful on the inside, exude a powerfully clean and well-rehearsed vibe, keeping each track fresh and interesting. 

Love Is Here
will not win the rock and roll community over by being played at higher volumes. In fact, it's the subtle strings, lush piano and domineering vocals, which may even require a couple of listens to appreciate, that will keep Starsailor near the top of your CD stack this Winter. "Good Souls" is the most complete example of what happens when all the aforementioned strengths collide on the same song. It's not a radio-ready smash hit by American standards, nor is most of this record. But after two drives across the state with Love Is Here filling your car, you might not only value the great musicianship of Starsailor, but also their unique ability to lift your spirits above a level you thought conventional Brit Pop could!

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