STARSAILOR, despite a succession of excellent albums, remain on the outside of the music business. Too cerebral and challenging to appeal to the mindless masses who devour Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Take That, the band remains curiously out of favour with the hipper elements of rock.

After the rapturous reception accorded to Starsailor’s first record, the band has been shunned by critics for reasons unknown, as their great fans The Killers might say.

Who cares, though, when James Walsh and his cohorts produce magnificent music like All This Life? Shimmering guitars, soaring keyboards, captivating choruses and Walsh’s inimitable vocals combine to make an irresistible sound, which is underpinned by some of Starsailor’s most personal and poignant lyrics yet. Walsh’s words, honest, fragile and self-deprecating, reveal a man who is not afraid to examine his emotions – and his relationships – in candid depth.

The rousing opener Listen To Your Heart sets a frantic pace, which is sustained by brand-new classics such as the storming title track All This Life, the haunting, self-lacerating Sunday Best, the coruscating Blood and the painfully autobiographical No One Else. Meanwhile FIA (F*** It All) could be expressing Starsailor’s anger at the pitiful state of the world today, or simply be putting two fingers up at their critics. Either way, it’s a powerful, unforgettable anthem.

All This Life is the band’s first album since 2009 and their fifth studio album altogether. A subtle progression from the sublime All The Plans, it is a formidable addition to the band’s already outstanding repertoire; it’s now time the critical tide turned. For few contemporary bands combine majestic music and emotionally intelligent lyrics as well and as seamlessly as Starsailor.

Starsailor play Leeds Beckett Students’ Union on October 16.