You are being redirected - hold on tight!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Music Review: Stars new album bigger, but is it better?

Stars: Avril Lavigne wants her tie back

The Canadian band Stars had a major artistic breakthrough with 2004's Set Yourself on Fire. For their follow-up, In Our Bedroom after the War they have come down with a major case of Summer sequel-itis. Like something out of the Die Hard franchise they have taken all the things that were hallmarks of Fire, even down to the portentous literary referenced album title being spoken at the outset, and made them bigger, bolder and brighter. There are more strings, slicker production, brighter vocals, bolder arrangements. This isn't a disaster but it makes for an album that feels more distanced and less inviting than it's predecessor.
That's not to say that there is nothing to like here. Sometime Broken Social Scene-ster Amy Millan still has a heart-tugging yearning in her voice, which goes nicely with co-singer Torquil Cambell's detached iciness. Many of the songs are top-notch -- first single "The Night Starts Here" pulses along on an insistent groove, "The Ghost of Genova Heights" comes over as 1985 era Scritti Politti new wave, and "Window Bird" rides an outro of furiously solo-ing David Gilmour-esque guitars. Still, Campbell amps up his Morissey-isms a bit too much at times, and it's hard to recommend this to newcomers to the band even though by all measures it's more "accessible" than it's predecessor. For the already initiated, there are pleasure here that unlock over repeated listenings, but Set Yourself on Fire remains the high-water mark by which all other Stars albums must be judged. Stars out of five stars:

No comments: