With the release of The Bends and OK Computer, Radiohead inspired a surge of British bands that have become almost like a trend. Travis and Coldplay lead the pack of sensitive musicians, who with high pitched vocals, pained lyrics and slow guitar strums, have taken over the U.K. charts and, to a certain extent, the U.S. charts.
The new artist to emerge and be most talked about in recent months is Starsailor, a Northwest Britain quartet, who more than any of the other groups, gives the most average music fan an intense experience of quality, passion and hope.
Named after a Tim Buckley LP, Starsailor formed in the beginning of 2000. With influences that range from Neil Young, Van Morrison, and both Tim and Jeff Buckley, the band released their first full album Love is Here the second week of 2002. Backed by much critical acclaim, a stunning performance in David Letterman, and a long string of magazines and newspapers’ features, there is little doubt Starsailor is on the way to becoming the next big thing, not only in U.K., but also in America.
Love is Here has made a jump in the Top 200 charts to number 145, up number 3 in the Heatseekers chart and has remained number 1 in the Alternative New Artist chart since its release. The album has also just received Platinum status in the U.K. and is currently number 12 in the album charts.
Starsailor’s front man is 21-year-old guitarist James Walsh, whose ardent voice closely resembles the late, great Jeff Buckley. His lyrics contain a baggage of pain, anticipation and drama. The indie rock foursome is also composed of James Stelfox on bass, Ben Byrne on the drums, and the last to join and complete the sound Barry Westhead on the keyboards.
Although the whole album is solid from start to end, the stand-out tracks are the first single Fever, their latest radio airplay gainer Good Souls, and the beautiful anthem Lullaby. Most of the album keeps a slow to medium tempo, except some faster and heavier tunes.
Starsailor has taken a common sound and by complementing it with other styles, has found an identity all its own.