Reviewed on 27 August 2012
Rated 8.5 out of 10
Key Track: Lovebirds
Simon Starling was living alone in a mouldy apartment in Annandale, writing songs that just struck a chord.
His pal Wes Gregorace (The Devoted Few) was touring with The Church and Steve Kibley took one listen and knew he wanted in on the production.
A few months later and with the help of some of Australia’s best musos including Davey Lane and Sparkadia’s Jordan Brebach, Starling’s songs have come to life in debut album Semaphore.
Though it is named after the signalling system used to guide ships offshore, the signals being explored lyrically here are those we send to one another.
The album is full of stories of reaching out and wanting to find love and fulfilment. Opening track ‘I Want To Love’ and the ambient ‘Greenfields’, about a girl on a search for love, are testament to this and take you straight to that dark, lonely house in which Starling wrote them.
For such deeply personal songs, it’s hard to imagine how Starling so easily handed the production over to Kibley. Upon hearing it once, it’s crystal clear.
This album is a quality piece of work with many layers, presenting you with many musical moments all throughout the album’s ten tracks that deserve instant replaying.
Lead single ‘Lovebirds’ will be in your ‘Top 25 Most Played’ in no time with its sweet harmonies, use of strings and upbeat acoustic feel.
Other album highlights include the mind-boggling beauty of the pedal steel guitar sounds on ‘Lonely Doll’ and instrumental ‘Nightfall’ – an ambient soother to finish off the album.
This is not an album with storybook lows and highs, but the story of some of the toughest times in Starling’s life. These songs are honest, the production extraordinary, with music been created by some of the best in the country.
- Tess Armstrong
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