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4.7 out of 5 stars17
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on April 12, 2005
Veteran alternative rockers Starflyer 59 have returned once again with their latest album, "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice". Unlike the stripped-down hard rock of their previous classic "I Am The Portuguese Blues", "TV vs. SV" finds the band adopting a decidedly more layered approach. The emphasis is on mood and orchestration with several tracks featuring a live string section, horns and synths. The sound captured on this disc is not too far removed from bands such as New Order with a slight hint of The Smiths and early U2.

Tracks such as "The Contest Completed", "A Good Living", "Softness, Goodness" and "Something Evil" are darker in mood but feature some of bandleader Jason Martin's best writing yet. "Night Life" has a feel that teeters on the verge of sounding like Electric Light Orchestra with its dynamic string arrangements and slow Lennon-esque grooves. The big standout on the album is upbeat "Good Sons" which shows off an obvious New Order influence with its driving dance rhythms and layered synths and keyboards. For the record, this track is probably the most dance-oriented piece that Starflyer has ever committed to disc.

Indeed, all of "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice" flows seamlessly and is without a doubt another masterpiece from this amazing band. The only minor drawback is that the album only contains nine tracks and runs for 32-minutes total. The upside is that it is nine great tracks and 32-minutes of great music. Jason Martin and Frank Lenz (the current line-up) have truly outdone themselves with this album. Martin's songwriting continues to flourish and grow with each album the band releases. "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice" is no exception.

Another Instant Starflyer Classic and Their Best Effort Yet!!!
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on April 12, 2005
Starflyer with another stellar release, the mellow goodness of "Softness Goodness" to the experimental "Something Evil", along with drum machine beats of "Longest Line" this album is a winner. It plays like a combination of "Old" and earlier tracks off of "Fell in Love at 22". Starflyer 59 have never released a bad album and "Talking Voice versus Singing Voice" could be their best.
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on April 29, 2005
I wasn't sure what to expect after "Portugese Blues", but i was hoping for a more stripped down affair. What i got was something even better. "Talking Voice" is different than anything else they've done, but not by much. This is NOT a bad thing. The classic droney vocal stylings of Mr. Martin are present, but he has brought his multi-talented friend Mr. Frank Lenz along for the session to add some "sounds". Then he grabbed Ken Andrews to mix. Excellent choice. I believe this is the first records where Martin's voice is the main attraction. It is mixed so you can hear, understand and let every word sink in immediately. If that's sounds appealing to you, you will be in heaven with this record. I believe this is also the first record that i haven't said to myself, "This song sounds alot like _____ (insert SF59 song here) from ______ (insert SF59 album here)". Each song has a different vibe, a different tone and my favorite thing, a different sound or instrument.

After hearing this record, and then again, and then again (cause that's what happened when i got it), i think i would buy the next SF59 record if it only featured a washboard, a pair of spoons, and an old paint jug. I think Martin would find a way to make it brilliant. In my book, there will never be enough Starflyer records to make me happy. I'm not a fan at all, really.
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on May 24, 2005
Phenomenal! Jason Martin & Frank Lenz (and co.) put style to work for them in an endeavor that has finally brought some class back to rock! Few and far between are the albums that define possibility but TV vs. SV is one such album. Swanky from the start "Contest Completed" is merely the block from which this genre bending album launches. "Easy Street," "A-Lists Go On," and "Good Sons" are easily three of SF59's most accomplished tracks to date. Never quite leaving the famous pure tone of Martins guitar out of the picture but rather bringing perfectly complementary elements (trumpet & string arrangements) that are lush and real into the arrangements make for a record that is soothingly balanced and rewardingly magnificent. Once again shoegazers everwhere have something to look forward to...up.
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on April 20, 2005
After several listens, tvvssv is probably the best SF59 to listen to all the way through. It has the same sound of their 2003 release "Old" but each song flows so well together. It's like a combination of New Order and The Smiths but it remains uniquely Starflyer 59. Jason Martin has been writing some of the best pop albums of the last decade, from his wall of guitar sound on early releases to his more recent pop leanings, SF59 remain one of the few bands who haven't had a bad album. On TVVSSV, the familiar pop sound is there but with a darker vibe on tracks "Nightlife" and "Softness Goodness" to overtly spiritual songs "The Longest Line" and "Easy Street". This is the most complete Starflyer album, even better than their "Pet Sounds" inspired "Leave Here A Stranger". Why this band does not get more notice is beyond me. I hope SF59 continues to make great music for a long time. Give this many listens, it grows on you. The guitar on "Good living" is such mellow greatness, surf sounds and thirty two minutes of quality.
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on April 13, 2005
For more than a decade, Jason Martin and his band Starflyer 59 have a tradition of prolifically creating wonderfully innovative, finely crafted songs. On the ninth full-length release, "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice," Martin and company do not dissapoint this tradition, only furthering their greatness.

On TV vs. SV, the band (which consists on this album of Jason Martin, Frank Lenz and a handful of guest musicians) has reached into deeply layered songwriting. Use of violin, viola, cello, trumpet and synthesizers enhance Martin's bluesy, driving guitar riffs and haunting vocals deliver to create a very full, lush sound.

While the album runs a bit short...only nine songs and 32 minutes, there are no "throwaway" tracks. Each track works well by itself, and as an integral part of this album.

This is a must have for new and old Starflyer fans. The album is hauntingly beautiful, deeply layered, and, as a result never tiresome to listen to. Martin draws from everything that is great about Starflyer 59 and takes a huge leap forward. One of the best records the band has ever released, though this is hard to gauge, as every record they release is above and beyond industry standard. Definitely the best record of the year.
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on June 13, 2007
Alright.... I had never heard of this band until I stumbled upon this album last year while my wife was away visiting family in Texas. Let me tell you! I had been so bored with music at the time and then this album came along! I listened to this album for the solid ten days that she was gone, repeat after repeat.... I can not remember the last time I was so excited over any band! And then I learned how extensive their discography was! I am so in love with this band! Buyit! You will not be disappointed!
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on July 3, 2005
Once again Starflyer 59 blows me away with another amazing album. The best song on the album is "Good Sons", the song kind of reminds of The Cure. This is a album you will not get sick of. I truly think SF59 is one of the most under rated bands of all time.
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on August 24, 2005
I have been a huge SF59 fan for a while now and was very excited when this new album was released. The thing about SF59, for me anyway, is that I can usually listen to most of their albums start to finish without skipping songs. This CD is no exception. I hope Jason Martin and the gang keep going for a long time yet...
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on April 13, 2005
This is a very good album, as all Starflyer albums are. If you've never heard them before, this would be a fantastic introduction to the "dark pop" side of the band. The production is layered and the arrangements are wonderfully varied.

Lyrically, this strikes me as a more personal SF59 album then we've heard in the past few years. The album is called "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice," and the songs here play out almost as Jason Martin's internal conversations -- the "talker" debating the "singer" (or musician) on the worthiness of life in a band that should be bigger than they are.

So in short, the album comes recommended. What keeps me from giving it five stars is the "sameness" that is starting to creep into everything Starflyer releases. While Jason Martin isn't afraid to experiment, his talent is for killer choruses and deep production, not neccesarily song structure as a whole. While he's not afraid to change up the band's sonic palette each time out, he hasn't done much to alter the framework. He could record an entire album with a brass orchestra, but it would still sound like Starflyer.

This is both good and bad, as consistency can be both a blessing and a curse. People aren't lying when they tell you there's never been a bad Starflyer album. You could pick up almost any of them (including the much-maligned "Portuguese Blues") and fall in love with this band. But instead of just deepening the band's sound each time out with a new production tack, I'd love to hear an album where Martin stretches his songwriting and gives his melodies room to breathe. Every SF fan knows intuitively where the first chorus on a new song will begin, and that the 2nd verse will be shorter than the first. It's almost formula at this point. And the rigid 4/4 timing he seems to demand from his drummers is getting a little old as well.

It's a testament to Martin's talent that there is still so much to love about each new Starflyer album. I love this band and I always will. If he could find a way to let each song on the next album develop its own identity, not just sonically but structurally, I think we'd have the best Starflyer yet.
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