Those who are familiar with house and dance music may have heard of the “Balearic concept”, also known as Balearic beat and Balearic house. This style of music, defined simply as electronic dance music, has become increasingly popular in Europe since the 1980s and is the main genre of the band Starlings, who is also steadily growing popular in the UK. There’s no doubt you won’t miss the 80s feel in these dance tunes. The catchy vocal melodies over the synth and drums bring back memories of the disco tunes we all guiltily danced to in the car at some point in our lives. The band lists Talk Talk, Simple Minds, Heaven 17, New Order, Giorgio, and Fools Gold as some of their influences.
The band is made up of vocalist/guitarist Justin Robson, Simon Poole on keyboards, Tom Hudson on drums, and bassist Spencer Marsh. The four grew up in the same area, but the formation of their band was very spontaneous, which Robson explained in one of his interviews. “I went to school with Tom our drummer and we were in a band together when we were 16. We left school, went off to uni etc, but kept in touch. I used to play football with Simon who went to school with Spencer. I bumped into Simon when we finished uni and talked about getting together in a band. I said I knew a drummer and that’s how it started!”
The two most recent singles from Starlings are ‘Sirens’ and ‘Weight in Gold’. The initial impression might lead you to believe that only those who appreciate 80s music will appreciate these songs. The music can seem a bit empty and repetitive, but the vocals definitely carry the songs along. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself bobbing your head or tapping your toe along with the constant bass drum hits throughout.
Robson commented in his interview that the band’s audience includes “anyone and everyone.” While this may be the aim, everyone may not lose themselves in the sound of Starlings so easily. This band has found a specific niche in music that appeals only to its specific fans. This, of course, is not a bad thing since many genres of music thrive through their select fanbase. Metal fans listen to metal, techno fans listen to techno, and those who enjoy the music of the 80s and certain types of dance music will fall in love with Starlings.