|StarsailorFirst things first. A question: what's the perfect environment to make an album in? Here are a couple of choices. No 1: You're a new British band, you've been on the covers of the music press dozens of times in the space of a year, and your first album's just sold more than 1m copies. Pressure? What pressure? (Well, quite a bit, actually.) No 2: You're a British band, Keane, Coldplay, James Blunt and associated warblers are at the top of the charts, your second album went platinum, but the media glare is on other groups now. Do you panic? Or do you make the record you've always wanted to make?Starsailor have dealt with both these scenarios. They didn't much enjoy the first (when the involvement of a certain legendary record producer proved a decidedly mixed blessing). But they absolutely loved the second. And when you cue up their impassioned new album, On the Outside, you'll see why. Or rather, you'll hear it. It's there, in the first bars of opener, In the Crossfire, with Stel, Barry and Ben haring out of the traps, and James spitting out a quintessential Starsailor lyric: "I don't see myself when I look in the mirror; I see who I should be." It's there, too, on the future live favourites Counterfeit Life and In My Blood, two gospel-tinged tracks that complete a devastating opening triptych. On the unmistakable, colours-to-the-mast Faith Hope Love. On the epic Keep Us Together, whose backing vocals are destined to be taken up by live audiences on the band's forthcoming tour. And on the heartbreaking closer Jeremiah, a song inspired by the still unexplained death of the British student, Jeremiah Duggan, who died fleeing a far-right conference in Germany that he'd unwittingly become caught up in.Some bands get to their third album and have you wishing they'd quit after the first. Others, though, only really come to the boil when they've got the brilliant but incoherent debut album and the high-pressure, written-on-the-road follow-up out of the way. With On the Outside, Starsailor prove emphatically, triumphantly, that they belong to the latter category. Their discography may read: Love is Here, Silence is Easy, On the Outside. But these 11 new tracks, and the confidence and verve with which they dispatch them, sound like the work of a band entering a recording studio for the first time. It's as if some invisible force has added a thickening agent to the pot. The Starsailor you hear on On the Outside - James's vocals and guitar-playing more authoritative and passionate than they've ever been; Stel's inspired, endlessly inventive bass-playing confirming him as in the very top rank; Barry anchoring the new sound with propulsive, euphoric Hammond; Ben powering the band forwards - are four people reconnecting themselves and us with what caused all the excitement in the first place.