Starflyer 59 has been around for more than a decade, but its approach hasn't changed much - rather, on the latest album, Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice
, it finds its apotheosis. Working a shoe-gazer vibe that echoes acts like Ride, Mojave 3 and Lush, lead vocalist Jason Martin outfits the velveteen textures with strings and percolating electronics, crooning over gilded hooks and drummer Frank Lenz's bubbling backbeat. At times the electronics take prominence, delivering gothic synth-pop that recalls New Order, as on the warm, haunting "A Good Living," and the tumbling, new wave throbber "Good Sons." Martin's become so confident with his palette that excursions such as the jazzy "A Lists Go On" feel well within the album's sonic tone. The songs inhabit shadowy environs that are infused with dark romanticism and bittersweet beauty. The album's highlight is "Night Life," which starts as a smoldering, bluesy, organ-driven dirge before the strings inveigh like sunshine through the clouds, bringing the song to a climactic swell.
Starflyer 59 performs Sun., May 15, at Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Place. $8-$10. 8 p.m. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.