Starsailor – On The Outside

This is an archived post from Wishes on Eyelashes, a previous incarnation of this site.

The most under-rated, over-hyped band of the new century finally fulfil their potential.

Back in 2000 when NME declared Starsailor the saviours of British guitar music, the sky looked the limit for the Lancashire boys. The much-anticipated ‘Fever’ was soon released to much acclaim, and comparisons from Jeff Buckley to Radiohead rained in.

Their debut album was duly critically acclaimed, but the public reaction was that of a band wimpishly failing to fill their boots.

A stopgap album later and Starsailor are back with a new attitude and, more importantly, the panache to go with it. New single ‘In The Crossfire’ perfectly lays out the path for the album.

At first Walsh’s straining tones singing “I don’t see myself when I look in the mirror / I see what I should be” take you worriedly back to Starsailor of old. Thirty seconds later though and you are reaching for the volume buttons to turn this pulsating, raucous indie romp up to maximum.

The pace doesn’t drop throughout for one second, until the heart-warming, delicate closing ballad ‘Jeremiah’, which cradles you back to Buckley comparisons of old.

In between we are swept from head to toe with the new-found vibrancy of this once limping band. ‘Faith Love Hope’ could easily be the indie-anthem of the year, but it probably won’t be due to Starsailor’s undeserved stigma.

But this of course is where the difference between ‘On The Outside’ and their previous offerings lies. Here we have a band that no longer care what anyone thinks, and it reflects potently in their music. ‘Counterfeit Life’ will having you singing backing vocals forever, ‘Way Back Home’ will pulsate you with its driving base-line, the list goes on and on. Every track here has something to offer, and deliberately so.

The decision to dump Phil Spector from the production was a brave one, but that is exactly the attitude of a band in such a brilliant rebirth.

Starsailor have realised they don’t need us, but rightly so, want us to need them.