The Portugal News had access to the cleverly put-together concept album pre-release which represents a fresh inspiration all with a distinctly British sound with some tracks even paying homage to Portuguese Fado.
The album explores our shared humanity and combines impeccable storytelling which the duo is known for but they have come back even stronger with exquisite vocals and lyrics soaked in vulnerability.
STARLITE.ONE showcases the duo’s talent when it comes to experimenting with new synthesiser soundscapes whilst still incorporating guitar riffs that rock, melodic bass, dynamic drums and heartfelt melody and double vocal harmonies.
You will hear a delight of analogue synthesisers from the Sequential Prophet-5 and Tempest, MOOG Matriarch, Minitaur and Opus 3 plus unique sounds created in the Supertone laboratory. "Working with these incredible synthesisers was such a liberating experience!" enthused Suzy. "I was like a kid in a sweet shop. We both were!"
This album also features Hugo Danin on drums, one of the finest drummers in Europe with everything else played by Starlite & Campbell. “We are playing as a trio on tour and he is an incredible guy and a very talented musician.”
“Music has meaning when it is attached to your life”
It is important to note that the album is intended to be played in two distinct sections as per a vinyl record. Programme A then Programme B with no breaks. Each track flows seamlessly into the next and the lyrics are very much 2023 but the music itself is much more experimental.
I wanted to take the opportunity to share a couple of tracks that really struck me as a listener:
The first track, Saving Me, is absolutely fantastic and feels almost cinematic, which is courtesy of Starlite’s Mike Lull custom T4 fuzz bass guitar which immediately sets the tension, complemented by detailed cymbal work from Danin and strident guitar line by Campbell assisted by emotion-packed vocals and catchy lyrics.
Blow them all to Pieces is such an impactful song written by Campbell, who was deeply affected by the invasion of Ukraine. His dry vocal delivery of this highly topical lyric is accompanied by lashings of majestic Sequential Prophet-5 analogue synthesiser. The B-Part is optimistic, with the hope that in conflicts everywhere, humanity and common sense will prevail. “It is almost our version of fado in a way and it is really melted with such pain.”
The Coat is also a beautiful track which is a love song that Starlite wrote for her mother who was in her late 50s when she was afflicted by early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The timing is unusual with her emotional and heartfelt vocal supported by Campbell's MOOG E1 guitar and dramatic Prophet 5 chords. Although there are sequenced keyboards on the record, the haunting rhythmic pulse throughout the song was created live by Starlite singing into a vocoder on the Waldorf STVC. Suzy confided that “It is a very personal song for me but it was written for everybody who has ever lost someone or is currently caring for someone and it is a song of hope and defiance.”
A Tour Worth the Wait
Starlite & Campbell are supporting the album release with an unforgettable two-week UK headline tour, with some gigs already sold out!
Most wonderfully, they will also be playing in Portugal on Friday 24 November at Centro Cultural Samora Correia and they are working on a date for the Algarve so please stay tuned for that.
Suzy shared “We are very excited for the tour because part of the joy for us is singing all together. It is a beautiful, almost a divine experience in a way because we celebrate each other. The music is a very much a connecting factor and it is our calling, we are really excited to see everyone again and meet new supporters!”.
Simon added “I think this album will connect with Portuguese music lovers a bit more than the blues album because the album is current and some it is British Fadoesque.”
STARLITE.ONE is also part of a wider and evocative multi-media project which gives a voice to the experiences of being human expressed through the mediums of music, video, photography, collage artwork and through our blog -VIBES - writing, cuisine and podcasts.
Starlite created the album collage artwork working alongside wonderful graphic designer Tiago Cruz to translate it into the album cover, which is undeniably eye-catching.
They also have a subscriber-based blog called VIBES which is a reader-supported guide to life, culture, music and current affairs accompanied by a weekly music-inspired podcast. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you would like to support the duo, please visit https://vibes.starlite-campbell.com/.
Support Starlite & Campbell
Suzy revealed that “We have made a few changes as independent artists this time and we decided we are not going to stream as we want to put value back into the music.”
Mixing all the band’s music with vinyl in mind, it is then sensitively mastered, without overuse of compression, by the mighty Jon Astley from Close to the Edge who has worked with The Who, The Rolling Stones, Porcupine Tree, Debby Harry, Tori Amos. Paul McCartney and George Harrison.”
The lacquers for vinyl are cut by Miles Showell, a world leader in his field at Abbey Road in London. Miles has worked on recordings by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, The Who and more.
If you would like to support Starlite & Campbell, you can buy STARLITE.ONE in vinyl and CD form and merchandise please visit their online shop at https://shop.supertonerecords.com.
If you would like to purchase the digital album plus other subscription offers, please visit https://starlite-campbell.bandcamp.com/album/starlite-one.
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.