Silence is Easy (Capitol)
By Tim Den
Hard to imagine that, just a few winters ago, Starsailor was the little brother who constantly got roughed up by the bigger kids (Oasis) and their snotty friends (the majority of the music press). Well, who’s laughing now? Silence Is Easy, the first album to feature Phil Spector production in over 20 years, is Starsailor’s growth spurt: Shooting them far past most of their contemporaries like a comet. Whereas the debut Love Is Here often lacked steam and uniqueness, Silence Is Easy is meaty, soulful, melancholy, rawkus, lush, not to mention short and to the point like all them great ’50s/’60s rock songs. This latter achievement is even more commendable when you realize 1) how much harder it is to write short songs that make complete statements, and 2) how Starsailor had no idea how to rein things in on Love Is Here. Most of the debut’s tracks went well beyond the five minute point, often milking repetitions ad nauseum… but not here. N’uh-uh. Only wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, hit ’em and go sonic testaments like The Beatles’ early ditties. That is to say there are complete pictures, narratives, and cycles in each song, unaffected by running time or the verse/chorus structure. Every song says exactly what it needs to and takes not a second longer.
And a helluva lot they do say. “Music Was Saved” is a stomper of a self-reaffirmation, “Fidelity” is trembling seduction, “Bring My Love” is a sweeping ’70s noir film soundtrack, “Born Again” is a Spiritualized gospel of the highest caliber, and “Four to the Floor” is a spy film dancefest that ranks right up there with “I am the Resurrection” as indie disco gold. And then there’s the title track. Not just a tremendous track, but a summarization of guitarist/vocalist James Walsh’s newfound punch of a delivery. By god, the man is no longer running home to mama after getting his ass kicked, he’s pumped iron in secret and comes out swinging hard. I feel sorry for all the naysayers who’ve been so quick to dismiss Starsailor, cuz they’ve grown up fast and strong and are ready for revenge.