But comparisons, superficial or complex, reveal only so much. The music has to stand or fall on its own merits, and that's where Starsailor outshines the competition. Guitarist and vocalist James Walsh has a clear, high voice that sparkles like the voice of Travis's Fran Healy and carries emotion like that of Radiohead's Thom Yorke; it goes a long way toward selling powerful lines like "You have your daddy's eyes, and daddy was an alcoholic" ("Alcoholic") or "I've got nothing left, my life is good, my love's a mess" ("She Just Wept").
There is a gentle pull in every song on Starsailor's fine debut, Love Is Here. Sometimes it's between a subtle device like the swirling arrangement in "Talk Her Down" and the inherent positive power of "Good Souls." Sometimes it's in the tension between Walsh's electric and acoustic presentations. And sometimes it's in keyboardist Barry Westhead's choice of beefy organ fills, as opposed to his delicate piano accompaniments.
Starsailor has managed to make an album of surging elegance that draws the listener in without ever making a spectacle of itself. The word is that it manages that same balance onstage.
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