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Starsailor - All The Plans

James Walsh and company do very little to separate themselves from the easy-listening pap that currently floods the radio.

Starsailor

are back with their first album in three years, but too little has changed with their sound in that time to keep them remotely relevant. Their songs are still packed with simple couplets about love and loss amidst piano driven melodies and swirling choruses, but there are already way too many bands that are traversing that tired musical road, and James Walsh and company do very little to separate themselves from the easy-listening pap that currently floods the radio. Walsh’s voice has always been pure and genuine, and that hasn’t changed, it’s just that he’s not singing about anything all that interesting, and the music isn’t nearly engrossing enough to distract you from the vacuousness of his cliché-ridden lyrics.

Lead single ‘Tell Me It’s Not Over’ isn’t horrible, but it’s far too safe and middle-of-the-road to hold anyone’s interest for more than a few listens, and unfortunately represents the best of what this lightweight album has to offer. The band is way too comfortable with their style to stray too far outside their comfort zone, and these songs reflect that sense of contentment. There isn’t a song or a sound on this record that could potentially challenge a listener, and there’s certainly nothing here that we haven’t heard before. Title track ‘All The Plans’ even starts out shockingly identical to ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ but fails to achieve the memorable nature of that single, despite Walsh’s grandiose attempt to capture the sentiment of life not turning out quite the way he figured it would. And his rhyme scheme is so juvenile and predictable that it’s possible to name what lyric is going to come next even on the first listen.

‘Stars & Stripes’ is sonically a bit of change up for the band, but the song falls flat when it strives for far more than Walsh’s lyrics allow, and ends up being far more cringe-worthy instead of the grand social statement the band envisioned while writing it. There is just far too much here that is instantly forgettable, and the parts you will remember aren’t for good reasons. It’s a bland record through and through that never raises the pulse of the listener, and unfortunately sounds like the musicians weren’t all that enthused while recording it. It feels passionless and benign. ‘All The Plans’ is essentially a harmless record, for there’s nothing on here that can make anyone overtly angry, but there aren’t any songs that will make any lasting impact either.

‘Listen Up. We’re going to change the world. Starting with here and now,’ James sings on a track called, what else, ‘Listen Up’, and unfortunately you get the sense that he truly believes what he’s singing, but has no clue how to accomplish that grand ideal. But it’s inevitably going to have to be someone else that attains those intentionally vague heights, because this record won’t bring about any sort of change other than looking for something else to put on your stereo.

Tags: Starsailor, Reviews, Album Reviews

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