Reviewed by Martin I Smith
'Dial M' continues as expected to guide Jason Martin's songwriting away from the heavily guitar-oriented sound of the band's origin. In line with a recurring trend amongst artists of late, Martin has directed his desire for experimentation towards synthesisers. Thankfully, while the electronic element, poorly incorporated by other bands, has often felt gimmicky, Starflyer's use becomes a natural body for the poppier style they've been experimenting with for the last decade. The results are some truly contagious tracks that you'd be unabashed to request of your local DJ, if only he'd actually heard of Starflyer 59. The beats of "Concentrate" and "Automatic" have more satisfying grooves than your McCoy's crisps, so if you're not bobbing your head or at least tapping your feet to 'em you need to check your joints, because I refuse to believe that you just don't want to. The record isn't all light-hearted dance inducement however, and in fact while 'Dial M' is wearing pop make-up, the lyrics are pervasively intimate and reflect the struggle of faith Martin suffered around the loss of his father. By all means it's a coupling of emotional substance and pop-appeal that should result in a masterpiece. Unfortunately there's a missing dynamic here that cuts it just short of the grade. For each song remains quite safely within the parameters set at its beginning, never ultimately surprising and thus wowing the listening with a progressive climax or clever digression. In addition, Martin's vocals never seem too challenged either, keeping within the same range for the record's duration. Overall, these factors do not spoil what is certainly an impressive eclectic record.
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