Review: Starsailor

““Love Is Here””
(Capitol Records)

Fans of Britpoppers like Travis, Coldplay, and David Gray who are in search of more of the same won’t find it here.  On “Love Is Here,” the four members of Starsailor opt for a starker, more stripped-down sound than any of those acts, giving them a raw power that calls to mind the Verve or earlier U2.  Hypnotic acoustic guitar and Barry Westhead’s piano (and occasional keyboard) mesh really well with the reedy, quaking vocals of James Walsh, and the result is an earnest, intense album that grabs you from its first grim notes and doesn’’t let go until its eleven tracks are finished.  Although there are occasional lapses into excess, “Love Is Here” is a reminder of just how much four musicians and their instruments can do with minimal studio embellishment.  A very promising debut from the latest band imported from the UK.