Album: Starsailor

Silence Is Easy, EMI
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

After assiduously touring America, Starsailor shifted a million copies of their debut album, Love Is Here - an impressive, surprising feat. But it has taken its toll. Silence Is Easy is a classic case of the difficult second album, made by a band who've exhausted a slim portfolio of songs and have had to write new material while slogging their way around the US heartland. They don't have much more to sing about than music itself, their love of it, and their trepidation at having to follow up that earlier success. "We're stepping through the door, we're shooting from the heart," sings James Walsh on "Shark Food", "if we get it wrong, they'll feed us to the sharks": a pressing concern for the band, but not for those with no vested interest. "Music Was Saved" has a set-opening gusto, with spangly guitar arpeggios borne aloft on stampeding drums, but thereafter wilts into the bogus uplift of prog-rock pomp, laced with mealy-mouthed lines such as "Some of us laugh, some of us cry/Some of smoke, some of us lie/But it's all just the way that we cope with our life", which is perhaps the emptiest sentiment in recording history. The two Phil Spector-produced tracks, "White Dove" and the title-track, are likewise oddly bland and underwhelming, the former string-drenched and amorphous, the latter dully repetitive, its self-denying chorus of "Silence is easy/It just becomes me" unaccountably ignored by the band. More's the pity.