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The Sails

A Headful of Stars

(Rainbow Quartz; US: 16 Nov 2010; UK: 25 Oct 2010)

For the last five years, Michael Gagliano (a.k.a. the Sails) has been gently tacking his way across a sea of ‘60s-inspired psych-pop melodies that have garnered praise from the likes of Ray Davies and Paul Weller. A Headful of Stars is the London-based multi-instrumentalist’s third long player. It continues his heady journey into a mid-‘60s psychedelic soundscape awash with harmony vocal overdubs, swirling sitars, stereo phasing, backwards-looped tape, oscillating organ and chiming guitars.  This is nothing new from Gagliano, but variation and a wicked way with a catchy tune keep these 12 original numbers from outstaying their welcome. Naturally, there are flashes of the Beatles (“I’m Only Bleeding” and “Travel”) and the Hollies (“Dogs”). The standout tracks surface, however, when Gagliano delves a little deeper for inspiration on numbers like the Small Faces-influenced “In My Head”, the John Barry-style “The Man Who Broke in Half” and the excellent Toytown pop of “Heath Insecurities Limited”.

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