follows up the best record of their career, 2001's Leave Here a Stranger
, with an album that sounds like a continuation of that fine disc. The same minor chords, breathy vocals, atmospheric production, and overall shoegaze sensibility prevail here. The arrangements are lovingly crafted, very dense, and packed with all kinds of guitars, Hammond organ, lush background vocals, percussion of all types, and nice surprises like tubular bells and occasional synth drums. Every nook and cranny is filled with sound that never overwhelms but rather creates a warm blanket of sound, wrapping the listener up in guitars and the intimate vocals of Jason Martin. The songs are all well-crafted and memorable; the new wave-inflected "New Wife, New Life," the sad "Major Awards," and the best song here, "Pasengers," are as good as anything Starflyer 59
has done. That's saying a lot. Lyrically, Martin seems obsessed with growing older on Old
; on the piano- and treated-organ-based title track and the AOR ballad "First Heart Attack," which soars like a cut from a Boston
record, he sounds like he is two steps from the grave. Don't let him fool you though-- the music on Old
is young and alive. Starflyer 59
doesn't get much hype, but they are one of the best guitar pop bands around and this album is a solid addition to their impressive body of work.