The Changing of the Guard
Starflyer 59 has moved away from the dreaminess of its early albums towards an earthier sound — a move further evidenced on The Changing of the Guard. Dusky-toned lead singer Jason Martin applies his moody charisma to story-telling lyrics that acknowledge the shadow side of life. The album’s intricate textures — interweaving guitars, pianos and strings over a steady rhythmic pulse — lend it a soundtrack-like feel. The expansive glide of “Trucker’s Son” and the Old West ambiance of “Shane” reveal sinister undercurrents beneath their inviting surfaces. The rueful backwards glances in “Time Machine” and the romantic longing in “Coconut Trees” are lightened by the playful glam-rock bounce of “Cry Me a River.” Just when things seem bleakest, Martin testifies to his still-unshaken faith in tracks like “The Morning Rise.” The self-incriminating “Lose My Mind” ends the album on a note of disquieting grandeur. The Changing of the Guard is the work of a mature band reflecting on the mysteries of salvation, keeping an eye upon the darkness as they travel towards the Light.