Starsailor - All The Plans

Album Review by Gillian Watson | 04 Mar 2009
  • Starsailor - All The Plans
Album title: All The Plans
Artist: Starsailor
Label: EMI
Release date: 9 Mar

Since their initial rise to fame in the barren post-Britpop landscape, Starsailor have been paddling in the rockpools of mediocrity. The group stick to their traditional gentle indie-rock template for a fourth album that's accomplished, varied, but also inescapably dull, if not occasionally irritating. The culprit here is frontman James Walsh, whose banal lyrics and achingly sincere vocals are a wearying and occasionally embarrassing listen. All The Plans only hits its stride (or rather, limp) in its second half, where subtle variations in the musical backdrop distract from Walsh's whine, such as on the tense country-rocker Stars and Stripes and the desolate, shimmering guitar soundscapes of Listen Up. But it's Change My Mind, a soul-tinged midtempo number that seems to point the way towards Starsailor's future: made for afternoon radio, sort of like a British Maroon 5, if they had less punch, it's also unusually affecting, pointing the way towards an escape from their current dishwater-indie impasse. [Gillian Watson]

Starsailor play ABC, Glasgow on 26 Mar.