Jason Martin doesn't stop. Nearly every year, you can expect something new from alternative rock band Starflyer 59. 2008 is no exception, as Tooth & Nail is releasing Starflyer's eleventh full-length album, Dial M. Much like every other album they've released, the music is well-crafted and doesn't really sound like any other band on Tooth & Nail (or most modern bands in general).
It's hard to really define the style of Starflyer's music. Alternative seems to be the only fitting blanket label. They use lots of strange noises and none-too-common instrumentation in their songs. "The Brightest of the Head" uses what sounds like a xylophone to add a happier vibe to what might have otherwise been a slightly haunting sound. But then that song is followed up by "Concentrate" which, musically, sounds like it either could've been straight out of the '80s, or a b-side from Family Force 5's Dance or Die - it's also slightly similar to "The Missionary" from Jason's side project with his brother Ronnie, The Brothers Martin. Jason's voice even sounds somewhat like Ronnie's in "Taxi," another synthy song. There are also songs like "Automatic." Despite its too-long outro (for a little more than minute, he just keeps repeating the words "it's automatic" over and over again), it has a great sound like that of the early-to-mid '90s underground alternative scene, like Sonic Youth or the Sneaker Pimps. The sound carries over to "Altercation," but slows down the pace a little for the next song. "Mr. Martin" is an acoustic song with soft piano, and the sound of a bird chirping the entire way through, appropriately leading to the album closer, "I Love You Like The Little Bird."
The lyrics range from topics of emotions, to how Jason sees life, to sometimes pointing to Christ. In "I Love You Like The Little Bird," he reflects on the pressure that sometimes comes with being a musician, "But I've tried, I've tried to write, what was in my head, what was in my head, sometimes I feel, I feel so obsolete, because the kids wants a faster beat." But earlier on in the disc, he talks about the unreliability of other humans, in "M23," "Can I rely, can I?, in the twinkling of an eye, of an eye, we'll rise, so I'll rely on Christ, in the twinkling of an eye, we'll rise." Though he relates to the sadness and hardships, he shows that he still has his head on straight.
Though I can't say I'm all too familiar with Starflyer's previous work, I think it can be said that Dial M will be a hit with the SF59 fans. Some bands keep releasing albums year after year (not going to mention any names) and they either go downhill or they just never mature, but Starflyer 59 keeps making quality music, and hopefully they will for many more years to come. Go out and pick up Dial M if you enjoy their past albums, or if you enjoy music that doesn't sound like everybody else, or even if you're just in the mood for something a little new.- Review date: 10/29/08, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
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