Starsailor - Manchester MDH - 15.8.01

Tonight, something of homecoming show, despite the fact they played here just over 3 months ago. But Starsailor are our band - not some Nu-Metal warriors or for that matter the latest American saviours whether it be the Strokes or The White Stripes. Starsailor are British through and through. And more important than that they're the most important Northern band since Oasis. Parallels to the Verve are to be expected, and sure James Walsh vocals carry the same passionate intensity as Richard Ashcroft, but Starsailor walk in an altogether less colourful world. Everything is simple - Black & White, Good & Bad, Love & Hate - and that for one makes a very one dimensional journey.

"Fever" and "Good Souls" have become firm crowd favourites, as has new single "Alcoholic". "Good Souls" almost like an anthem for friendship or lovers (depending on who you're with tonight) but still essentially gives out the same message as Right Said Freds "You're My Mate" - god I bet you'll never here these two mentioned in the same breath again!!! The problem that I have with Starsailor is that the songs will never reach the same dizzy heights as the voice. Like McCalmont before him James Walsh is a man with the voice of an angel and at times what is essentially a pretty average indie band behind him. Sometimes you just with he'd leave that acoustic guitar behind him and find someone who really can take it to the next level. After less than a year on the scene Starsailor real problem is that of over-familiararity. Everywhere you turn there's a Starsailor exclusive or a Starsailor radio session and maybe, despite the fact the album is yet to be released, we've just heard a bit too much too soon.

The live shows are where they both excel and where they fail. For a band so young this normally wouldn't be a problem, but with all eyes upon them they're having to make their mistakes in public. By the time the debut albums in the shops maybe they'll take time out to re-assess the situation and that is when Starsailor will fly!!!

Alex McCann