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Starflyer 59: Like a Million Escalators to Heaven

Posted by August 4th, 2005 No Comments »

Starflyer 59
Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
By Will Wagler

Jason Martin is a frustrated man. You can hear it all over Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice his latest release as his musical alias, Starflyer 59.

Martin masterfully blends a variety of instrumentation into his mid-tempo songs. There’s some New Order (electronic drums, synthesizers, and guitar melodies) a little Air (stringed orchestration, vocoder), but at the core these are still Starflyer 59 guitar-pop songs.

Lyrically, Martin uses single, concrete sentences to get his frustrations across. The first track, “The Contest Completed,” sets the tone for the rest of the album: “For once could you listen to me?” Even the upbeat dance number, “Good Sons,” poses the open-ended question, “It’s taken such a long time, long time/ Can we ever get it right? right? right?” “A Lists Go On” repeats the discouraging line, “Tell me what’s the difference?/ ‘Cause no one ever listens.”

What makes Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice so strong is that Martin and Starflyer 59 also expresses their aggravation through their music. In the middle of “Easy Street,” it sounds like the saxophone and an electric guitar are having a heated argument. At the end of “Night Life,” there seems to be a full-on fistfight between a small orchestra and a guitar and drum duo. Neither wins, but then the album ends with shotgun blasts of sunbreaks piercing through the grey clouds. “Longest Line” sends up a million escalators to heaven proclaiming the hopeful message that it will all be okay in the end – “It’s all in good time/ So get in the longest line.” – (8/10)

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