Starsailor

Silence Is Easy

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AllMusic Review by

Starsailor's sophomore effort, Silence Is Easy, was hotly anticipated largely upon the announcement that the melodic and earnest quartet from Chorley, England, would be working with legendary producer Phil Spector. It also didn't hurt that Starsailor's debut release, Love Is Here, was generally received upon its release as one of the best British rock albums of 2002. Built around the songwriting and lead vocals of James Walsh, the band fit nicely alongside similarly minded mellow Brits Doves and Coldplay. Mixing alternative rock aesthetics with a melodic pop sensibility, Silence Is Easy finds the band in pretty much the same place as before with slightly better songwriting, a more mature vocal performance by Walsh, and tastefully grandiose production. It's also clear from the cover art alone -- a pristinely epic photo of the band by water that veritably screams Heaven Up Here -- that Echo & the Bunnymen is, along with Spector, a main influence here. It makes sense: the Bunnymen's use of strings, horns, and chugging beats always seemed like a direct outgrowth of Spector's Brill Building "Wall of Sound" aesthetic. The bookend-like influence on Starsailor feels serendipitous. Even Walsh's delivery, which bordered on the relentlessly nasal on Love Is Here, here reveals the flush of Ian McCulloch's bluesy baritone. The 11 tracks here, including the two Spector-produced numbers, are heartfelt, melodic rockers with some string backgrounds that fit well into the overall aesthetic of cinematic pop romanticism.

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