....................... ...........1/2002
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Sail's through San Francisco
James Walsh  

......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.
......Their live show at the Fillmore in San Francisco began with the clear piano chord of their current single 'Alcoholic' the crowd were reverentially enthusiastic before being stunned almost to silence by the power and underlying fragility of singer James Walsh's voice. .....Starsailor moved with swift confidence through much of their debut album, 'Love Is Here'. Walsh's voice adding emotional edge to some of the albums lesser songs, which do lie in between the spectacular claustrophobic acoustic numbers such as first single 'Fever' and the roaring northern soul of the pacier crowd pleasers. James Stelfox (bass) and Ben Byrne (drums) provide a solid and slightly funky rhythm section. Keyboard player Barry Westhead is also essential in creating deeper and more interesting textures within the bands music and in being a foil for Walsh, alleviating the pressure of his single guitar duties, allowing him a soundscape upon which he can really test his superb voice. 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 exude a powerfully clean and well-rehearsed vibe, keeping each song fresh and interesting. It's the subtle strings, lush piano and domineering vocals, unique ability to lift your spirits above a level you thought conventional Brit Pop . Keep Starsailor near the top of your CD stack this Winter .Starsailor is the next big thing hanging excruciatingly heavy on their shoulders it's just a matter of time that they will be next to be on top. Starsailor continue's their European tour throughout November - checkout the Starsailor website

By Randy Cohen

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   The Band:
James Walsh vocals/guitar James Stelfox - bass
Barry Westhead keyboards Ben Byrne - drums

SET LIST: Alcoholic * Poor Misguided Fool * She Just Wept * Fever * Way to Fall Coming Down * Acoustic Bit * Lullaby * Love Is Here * Good Souls * Tie Up My Hands