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JFH Music Review

Starflyer 59, The Changing of the Guard

Starflyer 59
The Changing of the Guard

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 26 seconds
Street Date: August 10, 2010

Since 1993, Starflyer 59 has quietly become one of the most consistent and strong artists on the Tooth & Nail roster. Even with side projects (including Bon Voyage and Neon Horse), frontman Jason Martin has always offered good music in the form of Starflyer 59 and their latest album, The Changing Of The Guard, is no exception. This time, Starflyer 59 exposes listeners to another indie/alternative release which includes mellow vocals and a wonderfully fluid album.

Although The Changing Of The Guard doesn't have quite the same individual diversity of Starflyer 59's previous album, Dial M, the project runs together incredibly well for a captivating thirty plus minutes. The only track that doesn't really flow with the record is "C Mar," which is a quirky, retro-esque pop rock tune. The other nine tracks start off with the solid "Fun Is Fun," which sets the tone for a seasoned indie rock album with a constant western vibe going on throughout. Although "Coconut Trees" stands out as the album's most unremarkable song, The Changing Of The Guard has a few strong highlights to go along with an otherwise solid lineup. While the beautifully melancholy "Truckers Son" and the piano-driven "If I had A Song For The Ages" are impressive tracks, "Lose My Mind" has a truly epic feel as it concludes the album brilliantly.

Martin has stated that the album is about change, and often dwells on how the singer feels about it. In "Time Machine," the singer wishes he could return to his younger years ("I can't do a thing to stop time from moving/so I'm looking for a time machine… that takes me there again") and, despite Martin's dead-pan vocals, both "Time Machine" and "Truckers Son" are emotionally impacting songs. The singer's lack of confidence in himself on "Lose My Mind" could be a reference to Jeremiah 17:9 ("I have a bad taste in my mouth/could it be ‘cause I trust in myself/I have a bad feeling in my bones/could it be ‘cause I went in it alone"). Although the songwriting is intricate and compelling, the one potential downside is that the album doesn't have the clearer spiritual lyrics that Dial M featured.

After seventeen years in the business, Starflyer 59 certainly hasn't lost the ability to create a solid, distinct project. While the album may be short and the lyrics avoid obvious mentions of God, The Changing Of The Guard is still another worthwhile album from Starflyer 59.

- Review date: 8/8/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 has been quietly putting out music for a long time, and The Changing of The Guard is itself an appropriately quiet album. Martin's chill shoegazing style is appealing in a relaxing way, as he quietly monotones his way through track after track covering a myriad of topics. There's "Shane," a mildly country influenced track about the classic western movie hero, followed later by "Trucker's Son," a song about a boy following in his father's footsteps despite his own wishes. There's very little of today's typical musical bombast here, just simple straight-ahead beats accompanied by gentle acoustic and electric guitars and the occasional piano. The only exception is the excellent classic rock-influenced "C Mar." Additionally, Martin's skill at working diverse instruments into his music is apparent on tracks like "Time Machine," and the production is exceptional throughout the album. In fact, there is much more depth to each track than at first meets the ear, and as a result this album rewards the listener greatly after several listens. In the end, Changing of the Guard is a thoughtful, relaxing, and sometimes quite catchy release that definitely deserves to be heard. - Timothy Estabrooks, 8/12/10


. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 32 minutes, 26 seconds
. Street Date: August 10, 2010
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It:

  1. Fun Is Fun (2:50)
  2. Shane (4:06)
  3. Time Machine (2:49)
  4. Truckers Son (3:16)
  5. The Morning Rise/Frightened Eyes (3:20)
  6. I Had A Song For The Ages (3:27)
  7. Coconut Trees (3:31)
  8. C Mar (3:02)
  9. Kick The Can (2:48)
  10. Lose My Mind (3:21)



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