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Sensitive guys have had a hard time getting heard the last few years, what with the outpouring of nu-metal and ever-more-aggressive hip-hop. Starsailor frontman James Walsh (who's about as heart-on-sleeve sensitive as they come) isn't likely to be ignored, however, as long as he maintains the in-your-face tenor displayed on the much-hyped Brit band's debut disc. Walsh possesses a rangy, ethereal voice (pitched somewhere between Morrissey and Jeff Buckley) that alternately captivates and exasperates, depending on how in control he chooses to be. Love Is Here isn't overtly arty, relying on traditionally structured alterna-pop songs with plenty of guitar jangle and the occasional piano tinkle. The sadness that permeates the disc is striking in the current chart climate, as is the album's slightly addled mentality (abundantly evident in "Alcoholic" and the murky "Coming Down"). The wan backing, which often consists of little more than spare guitar or piano lines, may try the patience of some, but the low-key arrangements make the more aggressively strummed folk-rocker "Poor Misguided Fool" and the edgy "Talk Her Down" soar that much more. Without those changes of pace, the songs risk blurring into a somewhat monochromatic portrait of the artist as a depressed young man -- albeit a depressed young man with enough winsome charm to cause a stir. David Sprague

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