Damian welcomes back some returning heroes

I have always liked Starsailor and had lost touch with then so it was heartening to find that they had got back together, had a new album ready to be released and are touring.

The band formed in 2000 in Wigan and have been described as a post-Britpop cum alternative rock outfit. It`s also reassuring that the guys who formed that band are still together. James Walsh Guitarist and vocalist, James Stelfox on bass, Barry Westhead on keyboards and drummer Ben Byrne.

`All This Life` is the band`s fifth studio album and the first since the release of `All The Plans` in 2009.

The album kicks off with `Listen To Your Heart` and it`s a cracking anthemic track. James stunning vocals painting a picture over the accompanying accomplished backing.

Title track `All This Life` is almost a perfect pop song, upbeat, uplifting, there is some wonderful musicianship with superb vocals to compliment.

The following two tracks `Take a little Time` and `Caught in the Middle` are a little bit of a change from what I’d expect from the band. The songs are very soulful, quite funky. The former a bouncier tune and the later more laid back with some cracking harmonies. A more mature sound.

`Sunday Best` highlights the dexterity and range of vocals that James possesses. Initially a stripped back sound with just voice and piano, before filling out towards the end, extremely moving.

A real stand out number follows with `Blood.` A nailed on stadium tune, I could really imagine an audience illuminating an arena, holding up their lighters and mobile phones to this.

`Best of Me` is an up-tempo number that I’m sure U2 or Coldplay would have been proud to have written.

The delightfully heart-breaking `Break The Cycle` follows with pleading, aching vocals layered on top of a catchy melody. `Fall Out` is another emotive trip, haunting vocals at times, a pulsing guitar and a great drum beat throughout. The penultimate track `FIA` an abbreviation of F**k It All. I felt this was virtually a nod to past glories. Almost to what I knew or believed Starsailor to be. `No One Else` wraps up the album with a short tune, a strummed guitar and some piano, very simple but very effective and haunting.

This is a terrific album, It`s a little different to what I expected to hear but evokes some delightful atmospheres, with intelligent lyrics, emotive melodies, accomplished musicianship and well-crafted tunes. A much more mature sound from the band. I certainly look forward to seeing what I’ve heard here blended with other band classics in a live setting.                                                                                                                                                                         

 A wonderful welcome back to these Wigan Wonders

Rating 9 /10