Starflyer 59 - Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Starflyer 59

Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice (2005)

Tooth & Nail

If the band that released Loveless never existed, in this day and age, a band being named My Bloody Valentine would conjure up thoughts of tight jeans, jet black hair, and bad lyrics. Thankfully, however, that band did exist, and have successfully influenced an entire new generation of bands. Upon listening to Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice, it's quite obvious that Tooth & Nail's Starflyer 59 is one such band. Thirteen albums after the start of their career, it's plain to see that Starflyer 59 have become quite comfortable in their skin, shedding the classic rock stylings of I Am The Portuguese Blues for a return to their shoegazer sound.

Starflyer 59 succeeds just where My Bloody Valentine did in creating lush, moody soundscapes with a real dreary, hopeless sort of vocal approach. It's not only the vocals that help set such a mood, however, it's also the integration of the horns as found in "Easy Street." It evokes a sort of 1920's New York City back-alley feeling, if that makes sense to anyone in the world but me. The following track, "Good Sons," is one of the more bouncy, new wave-sounding tracks, almost reminiscent of early 80's-era Cure. Things generally slow down after that, depending on singer Jason Martin to guide the songs through his vocals, save the moments where Frank Lenz's drumming and the string arrangements make the mood. These arrangements are what allow such simple songs to have such depth.

Having only two members in a band does not usually make for the most dynamic or interesting arrangements, but Starflyer 59 make more than due with what they're given, and actually maintain interest throughout the album's duration. Some will contest the album does drag at points, and at the end of "A Good Living," those people do have somewhat of a case, as the strumming pattern grows tiresome rather quickly, but it's really the only instance where this is true. The melody and string patterns throughout the rest of this album feel just as at home as the drum machines and reverb found at other points on the album.

Though Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice was my introduction to Starflyer 59, the few other albums I've heard since simply don't feel as complete. The hopeless melodies and pattering of the snare just fit. It wouldn't be to your benefit to write this off as simply another Tooth & Nail Christian band, because there's a lot beneath the surface here for you to like.