Starlet – When Sun Falls on My Feet

Starlet
When Sun Falls on My Feet

One thing I can say about those Swedes is that they have an innate sense of pop songcraft. No matter whether they make disco, rock, or electronic music, they could find a good melody in a soundproof room. The unhappy tunesmith’s of Starlet may not sound much like their more mainstream, sunnier compatriots, but they’ve got that same guilty gift of tossing out slick pop gems without even breaking a sweat.
Starlet’s When Sun Falls on My Feet is a toast to those melancholy muses of heartbreak and longing. The band keeps its muses held at arms distance, never drawing them too close to bog the rhythms down or cloud over the melodies of the songs. While Starlet’s words are filled with loss, mournful imagery, a sense of tragedy, and all sorts of sad, lonely places, the music, always appropriately remorseful, still floats above the drama in perfect pop poise. These songs pack in the hooks with jangly guitars, smooth deep vocals, strings, trumpet, and even tambourines.
Through 10 tracks, Starlet isn’t offering any earth shattering information with their lyrics. The words don’t distract or feel out of step with the music. They’re just standard boilerplate broken heart stuff. In “When Sun Falls on my Feet,” Starlet offers, “claim that I’m a fool / sure I do forgive you / (but how will I forget?).” In “To Sleep This Evil Day Away,” we get “I want to come home to a place where I am known / a place where I can feel kind of whole.” Lead vocalist Jonas Färm breathes, pauses, and emphasizes in almost perfect Morrissey poise, but his words lack the self-absorbed wit of Morrissey. Still, for all their faults, these words are honest and personal, and that does go a long way. In fact, when the singing doesn’t suggest immediate Smiths comparisons, you hardly notice the shortcomings.
What makes this CD work is the delicate, addictive songweaving the quartet produces. These songs have the power to entrance and connect, creating dreamy soundscapes that hold tight even after the music ends. Each track is skillfully constructed with flawless, darn near perfect melodies and nuanced, impassioned instrumental performances. In “When Sun Falls on My Feet,” guitars glide from staccato California-surf plucking to jangling chords, and following each chorus, a trumpet blares in Herb Albert glory. This song, and so many others on this disc, effortlessly build into music worthy of Johnny Marr’s talents. Their acoustic pieces like “Not Alone” and the gorgeous “To Sleep This Evil Day Away” are equally as inspired, with impeccable drumming cameos and clear, simple guitar picking. And yes, even though I supplied a rough critique on the lyrics, in the last song, “Stop and Let It Go,” the words, heartrending vocals, and wistful, melodic piano leave me guiltily wishing for more. Yes, I’m hooked.
This album is achingly addictive, even for those who generally feel that life is pretty good. Starlet’s pop sense is almost eerily instinctive and When Sun Fall on My Feet will climb up next to you wherever you are, and you’ll find yourself reminiscing about some old flame that done you wrong.