When describing the difference between Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, the late writer David Foster Wallace said that Quentin Tarantino is interested in an ear being cut off, while David Lynch is interested in the ear. Keeping that in mind, what makes Philip Stevenson different than most songwriters today is that most songwriters are interested in singing about a broken heart, while Stevenson is interested in the break itself. Over the course of his work with the late, great Carnival of Souls, Quinine and his subsequent solo albums, Stevenson has always been fascinated with the quivering faultline that splinters romance to pieces. His new offering, the brilliant and often stunning Starless finds Stevenson continuing to peer into the fractured abyss. 'Anatomy' finds him singing against a chiming, underwater guitar line that sounds as lonely as a whale crying out among the depths; 'Deuteronomy' howls away with all the dirty sexy blues of the Stones, while the vulnerable and imploring 'Fix Me' finds Stevenson begging, 'fix me one more time.' Elsewhere, 'I'm A Boy' is the howling cousin of Springsteen's 'Adam Raised A Cain,' while 'Weak Boys' grinds gorgeously away against Stevenson's hushed vocals. Stevenson can rock but his acoustic, confessional numbers like 'If You Ever Love Something' 'Don't Go Now' and 'Where I Don't Belong' are some of the finest in the business. Later, there's the reassuring 'More Good Than Bad,' the dark kiss of 'Where You're Going To' and the spare and elegant album closer 'You Look So Good Tonight' which finds Stevenson conceding, 'you look so good tonight/I'll let you go.' -Alex Green caughtinthecarousel.com.