Russell Starmore

If you have come across Bournemouth teenage singer/songwriter Russell Starmore in the many open mic nights and music venues around his hometown, you will have found him to be a rather meek and quite shy fellow until he takes to the stage. Russell was first introduced to me by his photographer father Andy Starmore; as most parents do, big up their own children as I would do with mine. It was not until I saw him perform that I was taken aback with the sheer magnitude of his performance and the depth of his music abilities. Russell has clearly come to us via a time-travelling wormhole from the psychedelic 1960s where he took guitar lessons from Jimmy Page; vocal lessons from John Lennon, along with lyric writing sessions with Syd Barrett and Jim Morrison. This month sees Russell release his debut album Solar Elipses, a record that was recorded with the help of Matt Black at Hangoverhill studios in Dorset. He also acquired the help of a number of notable musicians including Zak Dendle on lead guitar, Matt Black on piano, Jade Norris on backing vocals and the unmistakable sound of Si Genaro on the harmonica.

Russell Starmore

The album is a 12 track double album and Russell explains “I was inspired by my own existential questions and that the soul is forever. The album is not a concept album but that seems to be the unintentional bridge between the songs, woven in their own ways. Throughout “Solar Elipses” are themes of love, dreams and introspection from altered states of consciousness. This is my attempt at expressing the inexpressible. For the deepest possible experience, listen to this album alone in the dark”. It’s difficult to see what’s going on in anyone’s minds, but here Russell has laid bare his thoughts and dreams he has had throughout his teenage years, putting them to music with a halcyon atmosphere.

The album opens with “The Conductor” which is an eclectic mix of electronic and string sounds, along with subtle sound effects; it’s like a dream sequence with Russell playing the textures straight from beneath a duvet during a particularly active night of R.E.M. It feels like you are floating above the clouds, looking down on everything below. “Violet Crystal” shows a more semi-conscious state, perhaps early morning before rising; daydreaming with a smile about a loved one. “Purple Box” is a sort of Ray Davies-style composition; a semi-comedic song with a typically English style, with plenty of glorious twists and turns. After the Spanish count in we are treated to a much faster-paced song in the form of “Alien Dance” which cleverly combines some beautiful flamenco-style guitar with a host of varying danceable characteristics.

“A Stare Out The Window” meanders along with subtle rhythms with Russell speaking above the music; pondering a whole bunch of largely unanswerable questions before an electric guitar takes over, bringing in more layered textures. “Night Nostalgia” is a short musical interlude before the record is flipped over to reveal the depths of the eye in the mysterious “Iris Abyss”. Track 8 in the 2019 debut single “In Another Life”, which first brought Russell to many people’s attention with its effortless vocal and short bursts of progressive power. Another quintessentially English titled song “Tea In Kent” departs from the 60’s psychedelic subculture influences to somewhere nearer the 1990’s Shoegaze scene; with effect-fed electric guitar and some delectable harmonies, together with the talented local singer Jade Norris.

Russell Starmore

“Fisherman’s Disco” features a sound that is beyond comprehension; its a trip that could make you think of the old man off the front of the Fisherman’s Friend tin along with Captain Birdseye having a party with Aquamarina, Mermaids and King Neptune. It’s a mystic psychedelic bubble and squeak of musical space-like textures, pushing the very boundaries of music as we know it. “Je’taime” (which is I Love You in French – as if you didn’t know) starts with the random croak of a frog before a musical love story unfolds and Russell delivers possibly the most conventional track of this collection; before sending us on our way to the final track which is the album’s crowning glory, the proverbial icing on the cake. At 18 minutes long “Birth to Death” is a progressive piece of music that sees Russell in full flight with an instrumental that keeps coming at you with different waves of sound from all angles. The track is designed to whisk you off on a blissful journey through brightly coloured frameworks, made up from the very fabric of Russell’s musical character.

Russell is a music wizard in every sense, with the ability to take the listener on a journey through a musical landscape full of colourful textures and a lyrical depth that sometimes I’m sure Russell himself struggles to comprehend the real meanings. Releasing your first album can open up a host of opportunities and with the abundant skills he has, there will be plenty of choices that may open to him. It could be creating atmospheric soundtracks for TV/Films or it could be as part of a band who together make music around Russell’s ideas. Whatever path he follows, I’m sure it will involve music in some way as it’s clearly deeply embedded in the depths of his soul.

Track Listing
The Conductor
Violet Crystal
Purple Box
Alien Dance
A Stare Out of the Window
Night Nostalgia
Iris Abyss
In Another Life
Tea in Kent
Fisherman’s Disco
Birth to Death

The album can be purchased digitally for just £7 here.


Words by David Chinery (Chinners).

Russell Starmore

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