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Starlight Alice - I Swear To God (JB Records)

24 February 2024

I don’t mean this in anything but the most positive of ways, but there is a touch of the Mumfords not to mention their sons, about “I Swear to God,” the new one from Starlight Alice. I’m not saying they are copying the London indie-folk elites, but the pace and poise, pulsing and propelling beat, shimmering indie touches, and anthemic delivery come from a similar sonic place. However, they have the good grace to position the banjo in the correct place in the musical range rather than having it ride roughshod over every instrument that gets in its path.

But, loose musical reference points aside, “I Swear To God” is both brilliant and brilliantly infectious in its own right. Folk rock has always been a contentious term, but here, for once, it makes total sense to take a song such. The song is undeniably folk, but the acoustic instruments it is conjured from are driven with the weight, intensity and intent that many rockers could only dream of. How about a new generic label – heavy wood? (Scratch that, it sounds far too… hmm… phallic.)

And, to use the A-word again, “I Swear To God” is truly anthemic. This is a song that is writ large and cinematic. Picture this: Starlight Alice is the last band of the evening at a summer festival. The sun is just dropping down behind the stage; the crowd has enough energy for one last shindig. This is the encore that they pull out of the bag. The opening chords send the crowd wild. What a way to close a show; what a memorable sonic experience to have in the memory bank. Imagine being able to say, “I was there way back when…”

It will happen, and it will happen across an increasingly extensive range of festival stages; you mark my words.