Acclaimed British quartet Starsailor are back on the scene with their first album in eight years and a tour to back it up, which calls in at Leeds this week.
‘All This Life’ is the band’s fifth studio album and their first release since 2009 captures the band re-energised and on outstanding form.
Forged out of the ashes of the Brit-pop explosion, Starsailor emerged as one of the leading lights of the music scene in the early 2000s, gaining huge success and spearheading a new wave of English guitar bands.
Their debut album ‘Love Is Here’, featuring hit singles including ‘Fever’, ‘Alcoholic’ and ‘Good Souls’, shot to number two in the UK album charts in 2001, selling half a million copies in the UK alone.
With maturity and emotional depth in their songs that belied their years, it was garlanded with critical praise and the band were presented with the ‘Brightest New Hope’ award at the NME Awards that year.
Starsailor’s second album ‘Silence Is Easy’ was part-produced by Phil Spector, spawning further hit singles and setting the band up for a career that has seen the four friends travel the world and work with a host of artists including Brandon Flowers, Spiritualized, Donovan and The Charlatans as well as support legendary musicians such as the Rolling Stones, The Police and U2.
With four albums and 11 Top 40 singles under their belt, they took a break in 2009 to concentrate on other projects before reconvening for a couple of shows in 2014, which led to an eagerly anticipated Greatest Hits Tour the following year and a well received Greatest Hits album, which featured two brand new tracks and sowed the seeds for a brand new studio album.
Bassist James Stelfox explains: “It was great being back on the road again together and it seemed like a natural step to make a new record.”
“We always agreed we wouldn’t force an album if there wasn’t the demand and enthusiasm out there for it but thankfully there was,” continues lead singer/songwriter James Walsh.
“The greatest hits tour spurred us on to make the best album we could knowing how many people were out there still passionate about the band.”
The result is ‘All This Life’, a gleaming 11-track opus of razor sharp songwriting which is produced by Rick McNamara, from Embrace, and was released through Cooking Vinyl on September 1.
Tucked away in Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire, the recording process for ‘All This Life’ was a much more relaxed affair than its predecessor, ‘All The Plans’ (2009), and saw a revitalised Starsailor thriving with creativity and having full control on the songs’ development.
“This felt more like let’s give it everything we’ve got but try and enjoy the process as much as possible. We felt fortunate to be back in the studio,” says Walsh.
It is no secret that the music industry has moved on enormously in the 17 years since Starsailor first emerged, but the band are rejuvenated with a new lease of life and a fresh outlook.
“I think it’s almost come full circle where we’re more relevant than our middle period. I think people learn to appreciate how good a band is when new artists come and go but your influence and fan base stays,” says Walsh.
“Expectations are very dangerous when it comes to chart placing and have led to really low points for me. We just want as many people to like it as possible, and to value every person that does. It’s a massive tonic regardless of radio or sales when there’s loads of people singing the words back.”
The band’s triumphant return this year started with them playing at both the Isle of Wight Festival and at Hyde Park’s BST alongside Phil Collins and Blondie, before they set off on their own headline tour in October.
That tour will bring Starsailor to Leeds at the Beckett Students’ Union venue next Monday (October 16) and Sheffield’s Leadmill two nights later. Tickets are on sale from www.starsailorband.co.uk/tour.asp