Golden Robot Records [Release date 21.08.20]
Jefferson Starship release new music for the first time in 12 years, although it is only seven songs so not quite an album but maybe longer than an EP?!
Jefferson Starship/Starship have been through many line-up changes down the years and indeed Mickey Thomas keeps the Starship name alive through touring (Jefferson Starship became Starship in 1985).
The current line-up features founding singer/multi-instrumentalist David Freiberg, drummer Donny Baldwin (who has been in the various JS/Starship line-ups since 1982), vocalist Cathy Richardson, keyboards player Chris Smith, and guitarist Jude Gold. In a further connection to the band’s past, original bassist Pete Sears appears on three songs (he was also in Starship!).
The seven tracks include two songs co-written by original Jefferson Starship/Jefferson Airplane members Grace Slick and Marty Balin.
“Paul Kantner was our bandleader and the visionary who kept Jefferson Starship going through so many eras,” says Richardson. “He inspired so much about this record, from the messages in the lyrics to the title and album art to the collaborative process of creating music as a band with some of his original muses – Grace, Marty, and Pete. Mother of the Sun is dedicated to PK.”
‘It’s About Time’ has already been released as a single and harks back the Jefferson Starship’s mid-80s era, being a bouncy melodic rocker. In keeping with the band’s beliefs it is a song with an environmental message.
‘Runaway Again’ could be lifted from the 70’s with its stacked harmonies and organ/guitar backing. ‘What Are We Waiting For?’ (There is also an extended version), again taps into the band’s reputation for commenting on the political landscape. A song of hope in these troubled times.
‘Setting Sun’ ventures into blues/southern rock territory, featuring some lovely slide playing and vocals. ‘Runaway Again’ could be another single release, a gentle on the ears tune which again taps into the 70s for much of its sound.
A live version of Jefferson Starship’s oldie ‘Embryonic Journey’ allows Jude Gold to show his undoubted talent on the guitar. ‘Don’t Be Sad Anymore’ veers a bit too near to lounge/MOR for this reviewer’s particular tastes.
Seven songs, of which one is a live version and another an extended version, may seem slim pickings for a twelve year wait, however Jefferson Starship have gone for quality over quantity. Great to see them still making new music and here’s hoping they can get back on the road next year to tour these songs and the Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship classics. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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