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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good album but not their best
Starflyer have perfected their sound and on "My Island" they created the album that best represents their new sound. Early releases like "Silver" and "Gold", Starflyer 59 was into a wall of guitar sound like many shoegaze bands of the early nineties. What makes SF59 different is that they kept their pop sensibility with all the guitars, and this pattern continued until...
Published on September 24, 2006 by kbarth17

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not Great
I like melancholy music, I really do. My favorite artists are very typically the ones that spend a lot of time being relatively moody, which I guess gives you a good idea of my personality and tells you I have quite a bit of it in my album collection. However, giving this one the once-through on Christmas night, I knew that My Island outstripped my other albums by a...
Published on March 1, 2007 by Nathan Knapp_Voronwë


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good album but not their best, September 24, 2006
By 
kbarth17 (Arlington, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
Starflyer have perfected their sound and on "My Island" they created the album that best represents their new sound. Early releases like "Silver" and "Gold", Starflyer 59 was into a wall of guitar sound like many shoegaze bands of the early nineties. What makes SF59 different is that they kept their pop sensibility with all the guitars, and this pattern continued until they released "Fashion Focus" in 1998. This release marked a new shift in sound for the band and it has been the same ever since with the exception of 2004's "I am the Portuguese Blues", a bluesy affair patched together from left over songs of 1997's "Americana" (their best album). Well, basically if you have liked SF59's latest albums like "Old" 2003, "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice" 2005, you will dig "My "Island". Jason Martin's vocals are still hushed as always but the production on this album seems top notch. "Nice Guy", "My Island", "I Win" are all killer. This sounds like a combnination of New Order with guitar from the likes of Johnny Marr. We often forget how good SF59 is, until they come out with a new album every year that is amazing. No other band has released so many good albums one after another, I mean almost every year. 1993 "Silver" 1994 "She's the Queen" 1995 "Gold" "Americana" 1997 "Fashion Focus" 1998 "Everybody Makes Mistakes" 1999 "Leave Here a Stranger" 2001 "Old" 2003 "I am the Portuguese Blues" 2004 "TVvsSV" 2005, and now "My Island". Thanks SF59, you guys are amazing and keep doing what you do!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music -- it makes me want more!, March 5, 2007
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
I've been listening Jason Martin's words & music since Gold, having found that gem in the midst of the tumult that was High School. Seriously now, what Starflyer 59 fan of any credibility (male or female) doesn't have a story about how "Messed Up Over You" put words to their adolescent, love-struck angst? Therefore, ever since then, I have staunchly and fervently defended Starflyer 59's work, even as the line-up was regularly shuffled, Martin adjusted his inspiration, and morphed his sound, changes that often left older fans behind, while acquiring new ones along the way. It's been a long road for Martin & his collaborators. Nevertheless, Leave Here A Stranger still ranks as one of my Top Ten Desert Island Albums of All Time - the album's austere beauty stands up as a rarity amongst the unrelenting flood of feedback loops that typically defines shoegazing indie rock.

However, with the seemingly perpetual transformations that Starflyer 59 has gone through in the past decade (from Fashion Focus up to & including My Island), liking these guys has become almost frustrating, up to the point that I have simply ceased to have any expectations of what a new album might sound like. It's hard to admit this, as a long-term fan of this band, but I'm not even sure if I can even anticipate anything anymore. Thus, while it is remarkable that Martin can still regularly craft above-average indie-pop songs while constantly shifting the form & tone of the music, I find myself wishing that he would find a style and stick to it (at least for 2 or 3 records). The prodigious quantity of music that Martin & Co. record, produce, and distribute is a testament to how much this band is driven by the love of music and the love of making music. I can never question the musical temerity it must take to work a full-time job driving trucks in California (which Martin has been doing since before Starflyer 59 was even in existence) and still have the time to write & record songs that are always varying in focus. But I can question the need to always re-invent your sound - the ostensible lack of stability can be quite unnerving to the long-standing listener.

Yet, I have to openly admit that I like My Island a great deal, as it represents what I feel has been lacking for the band since LHAS was released over 5 years ago - musical cohesion between the members of the band. Martin, through his own choices or just the whims of the West Coast indie rock scene, has presided over a revolving door of musicians for the entire history of his band. The strength of the songs penned by Martin have always under-girded the direction of the band, but his best work has come in conjunction with great musicians and contributors. Case in point - LHAS had Josh Dooley (who leads his own band Map) on guitar, Joey Esquibel on drums, and Terry Taylor (of Daniel Amos & Lost Dogs fame) as the producer, while Old and Talking Voice v. Singing Voice saw the band move through two total line-up changes (though Richard Swift, who played on Old, has moved onto make his own great music). However, from the opening riffs of the first track, My Island rings loudly & and repeatedly a clarion call that musicianship does matter and chemistry amongst those talented musicians matters even more.

Never before has the bass guitar rumbled, moved, and driven a song by Starflyer 59 - Steven Dial gives Martin's songs a depth and character they've never possessed and any prior albums (sorry Jeff Cloud). Hence, with the bass providing fresh life and the voracious drumming of Trey Many & Trevor Monks pushing the songs, Martin & Dooley are able to let their guitars freely jangle, as they pick out complimentary melody lines that truly display the greatness of Martin's songwriting ability. My Island is replete with instances where Starflyer 59 showcases how their talent has always been on par with other more-notable indie rock bands, even though they've always found ways to stay out of any kind of spotlight. The standout tracks include "I Win," "My Island" (the title track), and "Pearl of Great Price" - all songs where the 5 men work as one, creating great, hook-filled rock songs. I count it a compliment to say that My Island is a Starflyer 59 record and not a Jason Martin record.

However, even with all of the applause and praise I'm heaping upon this album, what plagues this album is what's plagued the last few albums - brevity, in the worst possible way. This 10-song album clocks in at barely 34 minutes and I have issues with that. I've purchased punk albums that are only 34 minutes, but there might be 13-15 songs on those albums, and I've purchased 10-song rock albums, but those have been 40-45 minute long albums. As good as the songs on My Island are, there are times when it seems that the band simply stops the song before it's necessary. I am not advocating that the guys should be needlessly and indulgently jamming for minutes on end just to satisfy my ridiculous length-of-album requirements, but I would have enjoyed hearing more examples where these 5 musicians relish playing with each other. "Nice Guy" is the only song on the album that even attempts this and clocks in at 5:11 to do so, meaning that, while not every song has to have such an instrumental component, the band seems able to do so with aplomb and ease. So, why not play out and play longer more often?

All in all, this is a quality record that was quite easy to listen to and derive enjoyment from, and, more importantly, it was able to stave off my creeping fear of unending mutation for Starflyer 59. A talented band such as this shouldn't be afflicted with uncertainty amongst its fan base as to whether or not the next album will be any good (only radio pop/rock fans who should have to bear that tawdry musical burden). So, in case Mr. Martin is actually reading this review, I offer two suggestions: 1) Keep Dooley, Dial, Many, & Monks around for a long time, since it seems that they really understand how to play your songs; and 2) Write longer songs for all of you to play - I challenge you to write an album of great 4-minute pop songs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly overlooked, December 9, 2006
By 
Peter Swift (Cogan Station, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
This band is long overdue for some real promotion and publicity that Tooth and Nail doesn't seem to give to them. This is unfortunate, because "My Island" is probably the most accessible album Starflyer has delivered - this upbeat and amazingly pop-oriented album is literally chock full of songs that hold their own and will stick with you for weeks. If you're a new fan or a starflyer evangelist - hide "Gold" and "Silver" until you've gotten hooked to "My Island" "TV vs SV" and "Old." Buy this album.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing a room...not a bed., September 13, 2006
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
Just a joy. More variety than we're used too and nice crisp/warm production. Best track is probably "Mic The Mic". There are no weak tracks. Very unique. Do you gather that I like it? This used to be a 3 chord heavy rock shoegazer band that has transformed into a modern day Cars with a much darker edge. Its pop without the happy sheen. No excess here.

I think they sleep across the room from The Cure. No bed sharing mind you...just the room.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better and better, January 7, 2007
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
Starflyer out did themselves again. Different then their other stuff, but definitley a winner. If you are a Starflyer fan, you need to buy this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This album hasn't gotten its due, November 22, 2006
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
This is Starflyer's best album since Old and their catchiest since ever. In contrast to the reviewer who said he wasn't going to play it that much after a while, I have found myself listening to it more and more in recent weeks. Jason Martin's hooks are tighter than ever, his voice is more confident, and his backing band has given his songs an edge they've never had before. It's not as dreamy as albums like the Fashion Focus, but this is great, great stuff.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not Great, March 1, 2007
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
I like melancholy music, I really do. My favorite artists are very typically the ones that spend a lot of time being relatively moody, which I guess gives you a good idea of my personality and tells you I have quite a bit of it in my album collection. However, giving this one the once-through on Christmas night, I knew that My Island outstripped my other albums by a longshot when it comes the minor chords.

"The Frontman" opens with sharp guitars, calling out posers and pretenders, and fading into the hopping bass line of "Nice Guy." The standout of the first half of the album, however, would have to be the dark, moody "Division," as the bass growls through the song with a huge presence that made me wonder if House of Heroes' bassist A.J. Babcock had joined the band.

Toward the middle of the album meandering songs like "It's Alright Blondie" and "Mic the Mic" tend to slog down the album in a quagmire of seemingly random lyrical musings and lackluster guitar riffs. However, My Island picks up in the second half with "Pearl of Great Price," marked by an almost James Bond-esque riff catchier than fishhooks drug across a fresh tablecloth.

Jason Martin's hushed baritone whispers throughout the album without bothering with high notes, preferring to narrate about how to set up the stage before a show, workingover time, having more ideas than one knows what to do with, traveling, and poetry... you know, the ordinary everyday stuff we all encounter. It's melancholy music for the common man. Or, more likely, really quirky folks who like the off-beat and something different than what they play on the radio. So, a perfect release from the indie-veterans? No. Entertaining? Definitely. If you're needing some chill-out music, this is a keeper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and tight, June 15, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: My Island (Audio CD)
If you're looking for a unique sound, fresh hooks, a nice strong beat in some underground rock pop - buy it.

Then you'll go back and buy the whole discography of Starflyer 59, and enjoy it all. As far as this record, it's a good starting point as the lyric is definable on first listen and deal with some underdog topics, creative process and swimming from death - so there's plenty beyond the sonic joy of SF59.
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My Island
My Island by Starflyer 59
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