TVD Live Shots: Starsailor at the
O2 Shepherd’s Bush
Empire, 11/29

There are few albums in the world that are flawless from start to finish, and Silence is Easy is one of them.

Starsailor beat the sophomore slump and delivered a stunning album that should have made them one of the biggest bands on the planet. Instead they just never seemed to break out of the European market the way that their peers, and much less talented, Coldplay did. And that still doesn’t sit well with the fans. It resonated again and again with every conversation I had with the capacity crowd at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last week. Why are they not one of the biggest bands across the globe? No one seems to have an answer, and this night that didn’t matter—this night was all about the eleven songs that make up the juggernaut that is Silence is Easy. And did I mention that they had a string section with them?

As I was living in the States around the time of the album’s release, I never got to see them perform on that tour. I was fortunate enough to see them touring on the debut record, but this one is on a whole other level. “Fidelity,” “Some of Us,” “Telling Them,” “White Dove,” these are songs that represent the best songwriting of that decade.

Add to this the crazy story of Phil Spector sitting in the producer’s chair, the signature wall of sound interlaced and influencing the entire record. The album contains some of the last productions by Spector before his murder conviction and imprisonment in 2009 (“Silence Is Easy” and “White Dove”). While only the two cuts with Spector’s production are listed, I would imagine there are outtakes sitting around somewhere that would make for a fantastic deluxe edition. I tweeted this to the band along with a few other fans as well, and the question seems to have gone unnoticed.

The record played from start to finish sounded as fresh and remarkable as it did fifteen years ago. Afterward, the band took to the stage to belt out some classics from their past and present. “In the Crossfire,” “Lullaby,” “Alcoholic,” “Poor Misguided Fool,” and a few select other songs got the crowd wound up even further for a final encore of “Good Souls.” The only songs I thought were missing were “Keep us Together” and “Give up the Ghost.” These two would have rounded out the extended set nicely and given a bit more love to the undercelebrated record On the Outside.

Walsh’s voice sounds better than ever, and he genuinely looks like he’s enjoying himself on stage with the crack of a smile between certain numbers. Gone are the days of fueds with the Gallagher brothers and going to war with major record labels—now it’s all about the music and pushing forward with the band and his solo work. Starsailor’s latest album, 2017’s All This Life, is proof of that as well. Another solid album that continues the evolution of the band and another album that is embraced by fans and snubbed by critics.

James Walsh just announced a Pledge Music campaign for his upcoming solo record and the bonus offers are insanely cool. This guy just doesn’t stop. If this new solo record is anything like his first, then we are all in for a very special set of new music. Maybe I’ll finally get that interview I’ve been asking for, hint hint.

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