By DAN MACINTOSH
The title track for Starflyer 59’s latest album, Young In My Head, expresses a sentiment everybody of a certain age will immediately understand. Although gray hair and wrinkles appear, and the body doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, it’s entirely possible to nevertheless feel forever young, mentally.
Constructed with a charging electric guitar riff, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Jason Martin sings the song from personal experience. He’s not yet ready to create an anthem for the AARP generation, but he’s getting there.
Granted, Martin is not the young upstart he once was, back when the sort of ‘shoegaze’ music he creates was still a new thing. Even so, this new album finds him at the height of his creative powers. He’s at an age, though, where he’s able to reflect on his life as a musician. For instance, “Remind Me” name-drops the track “Blue Collar Love,” which appeared on the band’s self-titled (also called Silver) 1994 album. Martin may be young in his mind, but that mind’s long-term memory has also lost a little bandwidth. Nothing on Young In My Head is nearly as heavy as “Blue Collar Love,” with its lumbering electric guitar groove. Perhaps, Martin’s also mellowed just a tad over the years.
One highlight of the album is a track with a one-word title, “Cain.” Its title was inspired by the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, where Cain killed his brother. Somehow, God marked Cain so that nobody would also kill him. “If anyone kills Cain,” God tells him, “he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” In this song, Martin expresses Cain-like guilt. “Maybe it’s like the mark of Cain,” he sings, “That everyone can see/Cause it’s on my face.”
“Cain” features Martin’s consistently tasty guitar work, and in this case, he adds surf-y, twangy touches. In contrast, “Junk” incorporates quieter tones, including chime-y vibes. For “Wicked Trick,” Martin fingerpicks his way through the track’s intro, before he brings on a patented towering rock riff. To top it off, “Wicked Trick” even includes harmonica accompaniment.
Although it’s not explicit, Young In My Head drops hints about trouble at home. There’s an apologetic tone set throughout. This makes the album powerful and beautiful, but also a little sad. Even this young-in-the-head rocker must sometimes deal with an aging, pained heart.
Starflyer 59 – “Hey Are You Listening”