Alex Starling – Tunnelling For Villians (2021)

With a musical career dating over a decade, Alex Starling is a singer-songwriter with some stories to tell. Integral to the success of synth-pop group Ou Est Le Swimming Pool before the death of their lead vocalist Charlie Haddon and, ultimately, disbanding. Retaining his ethereal synth-pop preference Starling toured as a solo artist in Europe and the USA before forming The Ghosts who also toured extensively. During a break from touring, Starling began writing for various artists with his music being featured on the ABC Network, MTV and Sky Sports.

Alright, brief history over, let us look at Alex Starling today. Featured in blogs like Aesthetica Magazine, Lost In The Manor, Less Than 1000 Followers, Sinusoidal Music and FMS Magazine, the UK-based musician is, once again, reaching audiences on an international scale. Typically performing as part of a band, Starling has little out as a solo project; however, he has some solo work for us to peruse. The latest addition to his discography is ‘Tunnelling For Villains’.

Following his debut single ‘We Lie To Ourselves’, ‘Tunnelling For Villains’ nods to typical 80s synth-pop but with a heavier rock influence making it far more intriguing. The melodic arrangment of catchy guitar riffs, hushed synths and an underlying keyboard creates a hazy ambience in which you can effortlessly lose yourself. Spinning in a swirl of sound, Starling’s sophomore single has a flowing harmony; however, it is the lyricism that showcases the UK-based artist’s innovativeness and depth.

Aptly named, ‘Tunnelling for Villains’ is a melancholic ballad about visitors entering the gates of Pentonville Prison. Using a subjective narrative, the song is told from the perspective of couple watching visitors enter the prison. In fact, the track was penned while sitting at The Breakout (a cafe opposite the prison) so Starling really placed himself in the hypothetical couples shoes when writing the song. I rarely consider people to wait in a cafe before visiting prisoners, but I suppose there needs to be some sort of place to wait.

Described by Aesthetica Magazine as having a “…voice as soft as the glasses of two old friends clinked together”, Starling’s soothing tones hypnotise any listener. The softness combines with a bold richness adding warmth to a poignant, melancholic track. The powerful beat underlies his sentimental lyricism sending shivers down your spine with the kaleidoscopic soundscape. Anthemic and beguiling, I cannot wait to see what else Starling has for us.

For more from Alex Starling check out his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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