Lady Gags : Starles........
Lady Gaga serves up escapist floorfillers, while Starless makes haunting music which gets under the skin, writes Fiona Shepherd.
Love and Money man Paul McGeechan flexes his composer/producer credentials once more in his Starless guise, blending classy composition, exquisitely rendered by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, with haunting songs which get under the skin.
The latest release from Starless is more This Mortal Coil record than super-group project. I suppose This Mortal Coil was a super-group too, but the output of that collective worked as an exploration of a mood conducted over and over again with a rotating cast of players. This new Starless record, Earthbound, features some great names, and it too maintains a similarly mournful, and thoughtful vibe.
Long Bhriseadh makes for a stunning entrance piece, serving as a prelude of sorts to the musical journey that we’re about to partake on, but Ailein Duinn is where the record truly gets going, and in extravagant style too. The piano/string combo is spotless and further refined by the outstanding production standard, while Karliene serenades us with these dazzling harmonies.
Emma Pollock is an artist I’m quite familiar with, and she gives Paper her usual magic touch, which also makes use of mechanical-based sounds that add a dose of character. Breakdown has a noticeably firmer sense of weight to it, with verses that lightly build and develop, in time venting into a sensational chorus helmed by Steven Lindsay’s memorable turn.
Mark Anderson Single Review
Review Date: May 03 2020
You don’t get many big albums these days. Albums that have a sense of scale.
Albums that exude grandeur. Albums that reek of money well spent like albums did back in the days when record companies would put up wheelbarrows of cash in search of that elusive multi million seller. Yet, on a little Glasgow independent label, we find such an album in “Earthbound” by Starless.
Unfettered Charm & Beauty
Starless are releasing their second album, Earthbound, following on from the unfettered charm and beauty of their debut a couple of years ago.
The roll call? Where do I start? Former Friends Again and Bathers frontman Chris Thomson provides his distinguished vocal talent on Spellbound, which lives up to its name in the effect it has on the listener. And also on the emotive slow burn of Calvary towards the end of the record. Also returning from the first Starless album is Marie Claire White (providing Chase the Devil) fresh from releasing her debut SEIL LIEN album. The silky vocals of The Big Dish frontman and composer, Steven Lindsay makes an appearance. And on Sea Shanty No.2, another unforgettable voice originating from another classic 80s band, Hipsway, in Graeme Skinner. That is just scratching the surface
Musiccramble Album Review
Starless is the project of ex-Love and Money founding member Paul McGeechan.
Starless allows him to fluently demonstrate his consummate skill as a composer, arranger and producer. The range of guests on the album also testify to Pauls standing in the music community at large.
Single Review by Betty Mayonnaise Review Date: Apr 21st, 2020
This initial taster is a collaboration with the peerless (ok not calling her a national treasure cos she would probably punch me) chanteuse of these parts, Emma Pollock.
Her voice does however get richer and more expressive with each passing year – over a piano backdrop she emotes, and soon enough the song picks up a gear with electronic percussion and synths. Strings also get involved in a complex buildup of instrumentation.
Former Friends Again member Paul McGeechan delivers an ambitious and impressive follow-up to his 2016 debut
As on his debut, McGeechan calls on the talents of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a host of guest vocalists to round out his keys and electronics. The list of vocalists on Earthbound acts as somewhat of a who’s who of Scotland’s underground music scene, including Emma Pollock, Karliene, Steven Lindsay of The Big Dish and Hipsway’s Graeme Skinner. The most impressive contribution comes from McGeechan’s former Friends Again band-mate Craig Thomson, who delivers two distinct high points on the album in the form of Spellbound and Calvary.
Nearly four years after the release of their eponymous debut album, Starless make a welcome return with the long-awaited and much-anticipated sophomore album Earthbound. Just like its predecessor, Starless founder Paul McGeechan was joined by an impressive all-star lineup. However, this time around, he’s shuffled the pack and some new names join the cast. This includes Emma Pollock, Grahame Skinner and Steven Lindsay. They joined Chris Thompson, Julie Fowlis and Marie Claire Lee who featured on Starless, and play their part in the sound and success of the followup Earthbound. So do the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra whose contribution to the album can’t be underestimated.
They play their part in sweeping, widescreen arrangements that provide the perfect backdrop to songs that are variously atmospheric, beautiful, cinematic, dramatic. elegiac and ethereal. Other songs are haunting or full of hurt, loneliness, longing and melancholia and are brought to life by some of Scotland’s finest vocalists who breath life, meaning and emotion into the lyrics. They play their part in a near flawless opus that marks the welcome return of Paul McGeechan’s all-star band Starless, on their near flawless epic Earthbound.
Steve stockman’s surmising on art and faith….
This has been my biggest pleasant surprise of the year. I cannot even remember how I came across it. I am now absorbed in it.
In the late 80s and early 90s I was Glasgow-centric in my music loves. I mean Deacon Blue. Aztec Camera, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, The Big Dish, The Bathers, Bloomsday, Friends Again, Hipsway, The Pearlfishers, Lies Damned Lies and Big Sur. It was a astonishing time and a lot of it seemed to fall away in the mid 90s.
I guess a good comparison to this Starless project would be Peter Gabriel’s Ovo where he was the sonic shaper but used the likes of Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan (who sang on the first Starless record) and other for vocalists..