Live review

ULU, London : 11.8.2003

Srarsailor - Click to enlarge"Cheesy as fuck, but you love it!" declares frontman James Walsh. Quite. There's something about Starsailor that makes you feel sorry for them. In a way, they are underrated - they write good songs and have enjoyed relative success - but they still seem stuck in a mediocre rut. When you watch them live, it kind of becomes clear why.
    There is something distinctly average about Starsailor's attitude and style that is never going to set the world alight. Granted, this particular performance is in front of a select crowd of only about 700, but they should still be giving all they've got every time they perform. There is something about them that makes you want to grab them and give them a bit of a shake, but it seems that they are quite content with where they are and what they are doing, thank you very much.

Whilst suggesting that we go out and buy their new album - Silence Is Easy, out September 15th - James informs us that there sure is a lot of stiff competition around at the moment, and tells us that we should go and buy the latest offerings from Super Furry Animals, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club and Shack. What are you doing man?! Fuck them! They're all fantastic bands, but that's not the point. That's the problem with Starsailor; they really do need to toughen up a bit, in both their attitude and their song writing, if they're going to survive. At the moment, they're just too . . . nice. Yes, it's somewhat refreshing to find a band that don't jump at the chance to mouth off about who they don't like today (hello Kelly Jones) but they still need a bit more of an edge to them.

Tonight's performance is adequate enough, as they run through a mixture of tracks from the new album - including title track and new single Silence Is Easy - and hits from the last, such as Alcoholic, Lullaby and last song of the night Good Souls, but it is not an especially inspired performance and certainly not a memorable one.
    Starsailor have admittedly won the respect of a number of iconic figures from the music industry, including Phil Spector who produced the new album, but they need to start concentrating on being known for who they are, not for who they know. Based on the evidence of tonight's performance, that wont be happening any time soon . . .

:: Philip Goodfellow

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