These British invasion bands are starting to sound more and more distinctly American. Take Starsailor.
Opening for the seminal Manchester fivesome Charlatans UK at the TLA, they showed a fond embracement of Americana within their sonorous Britpop structure. Singer/guitarist/prettyboy James Walsh’s voice warbled like an old-country Rufus Wainright atop Barry Westhead’s rich keyboards, while jangley chord progressions and flowing basslines kept foundation steady.
“Alcoholic” could have been a Jeff Buckley leftover from Sketches, and on “She Just Wept,” Walsh even busted out a harmonica for some heartfelt soloing.
Their homeland influence shone through on the more progressive tunes. The bittersweet single “Good Souls” sounded distinctly UK in its building instrumental pieces, but never worked its way up to anything incredibly gripping. Very much unlike the mid-set standout “Love Is Here,” in which Walsh, Westhead, James Stelfox (bass) and Ben Bryne (drums) brooded for several minutes to a grand climax.
Still, their Americana leanings are what make their music stand out, and they had no qualms about recognizing it. After their main set closed, they encored (rare for an opener!) with the Charlatans, Walsh and Tim Burgess belting out Dylan’s “Its All Over Now Baby Blue.”