On the Outside

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On the Outside Review

by Matt Collar

Starsailor's third studio album On the Outside features more of the British rock group's big, melodic, world-weary rock. This is alt-rock as conceived by bands like U2 and Echo & the Bunnymen. It's heavy on pathos and hooky choruses, and generally follows the serious artist credo of the more organ the better. Lead singer James Walsh's deadpan half-yodel is a bit of an acquired taste, but shouldn't come as a shock to anybody reared on a steady diet of Radiohead and Verve. It also meshes nicely with the big print imperatives Walsh favors for lyrics like, "Faith, Hope, Love; Be enough," "I got enough respite to keep on tryin'" and "Do you see what I see -- a plastic society?." While the album is impeccably crafted, the songs here lean toward the homogeneous and may take a few spins before such gems as "In My Blood," "Keep Us Together," and "Get Out While You Can" reveal themselves. Fittingly, for listeners who do not alienate themselves on the first spin, On the Outside holds much to offer.

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