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Album Review
 
Stars - The North Album Cover

Stars - The North

Reviewed by
8.5
Stars-The North
Record Label: ATO Records
Release Date: September 4, 2012
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Over a dozen years of blending into the background of the vast indie landscape, Toronto’s Stars have led a prolific but not quite spectacular career. Despite this, Stars are quite the critic’s pet with unending praise being piled on most of their releases. The Toronto five-piece have returned with their sixth studio album The North, a collection of twelve indie-pop tunes with electronic flourishes, that are exactly the reason why these guys have lasted so very long.

The North is very much a continuation of previous form. Maintaining the melodramatic indie that Stars do so beautifully, The North manages to channel every aspect of the indie rock spectrum, whilst creating a body of art that is perfectly coherent. Throughout the release, Torquil Campbell’s vocals are spot on, his soft tone suiting the poetic but accessible vocals. Synthesizers are a very important part of the release and play a prominent role in the majority of tracks, however rather than saturate the album with their electronic leanings, Stars are one of the few acts that can masterfully use synthesizers and beats alongside frail, quirk-filled indie rock in the way they were truly meant to. Opener “The Theory Of Relativity” has an incredibly catchy synth line and channels more than a bit of M83. Aside from being an excellent indie-dance song, that delightfully contrasts delicate female vocals alongside Campbell’s, the tracks shows that Stars are completely willing to adjust their sound.

As well as the songs being aesthetically delightful, The North contains reams of intelligently and subtly catchy choruses. “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It” is not only excellently titled, but contains a chorus and chord progression that could entrance any indie dancefloor around the world. Sounding absolutely massive, the track is not only a highlight of this release, but possibly of their career. “Through The Mines” is just lovely, with Amy Millan’s vocals sounding ridiculously pretty over a landscape of luscious but understated indie rock. “Do You Want To Die Together?” features excellently quirky lyrics (“I’ll love you till the day I die/So don’t die today") and is exactly what pop music should sound like.

That’s not to say that the album is flawless; “A Song Is A Weapon” is just bland, and sticks out like a sore thumb among the track listing. “Progress” is basically a re-shaped blend of earlier tracks in the release and comes across as just filler music, however, in general, The North is the sound of a band who are comfortable in their own skin and know exactly what they want to sound like. The musicianship is consistently accurate and the majority of the tracks could be chart-toppers in a lovely alternative universe in which skill as a songwriter is what decides who controls the musical public.

If you are already a Stars fan, you will love this album. If you’re new to Stars, you will love this album. Excellent.

Recommended If You LikeM83; Metric; Belle & Sebastian; doing the awkward hipster dance


Additional AdditionTrack Listing
1. The Theory Of Relativity
2. Backlines
3. The North
4. Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It
5. Through The Mines
6. Do You Want To Die Together?
7. Lights Changing Colour
8. The Loose Ends Will Make Knots
9. A Song Is A Weapon
10. Progress
11. The 400
12. Walls

Band Members
Torquil Campbell
Amy Millan
Evan Cranley
Chris Seligman
Pat McGee

8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 17
05:47 PM on 09/11/12
#2
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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They can do no wrong in my eyes. But I'm just a silly fan boy.
11:38 PM on 09/11/12
#3
Shakriel
I just need reassurance.
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Good review. Love this band.
12:10 AM on 09/12/12
#4
XLT917
We're never dead unless we give up.
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Great review, I got into stars with the release of The Five Ghosts, and definitely love this album as well.
12:11 AM on 09/12/12
#5
cut!print
Keep me simple, unplug my head.
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Love this album so far. It's become my favorite next to Set Yourself On fire.
04:33 AM on 09/12/12
#6
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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Sooooooooo much better than The Five Ghosts
05:28 AM on 09/12/12
#7
providence36
generator ^ first floor
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Best album since Set Yourself on Fire in my opinion. Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It is so damn catchy
05:33 AM on 09/12/12
#8
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Best album since Set Yourself on Fire in my opinion. Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It is so damn catchy
It's a whale of a song. But then again, would you expect any less from Torquil and Amy?
05:57 AM on 09/12/12
#9
Sikbeat37
You like music too? Woah.
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Listened to this randomly on Spotify yesterday - very happy I did. I've listened to them sporadically, but I'll have to dig into their catalog more in the near future. Good background music for work.
09:05 AM on 09/12/12
dash64
This Is My Design
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Great review and album.
06:15 PM on 09/12/12
Archael
listens to good music
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I doubt this is gonna be very good.
06:30 PM on 09/12/12
indiesuperman
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This album is terrific! A great step in the right direction, especially after the many stumbling points of Five Ghosts. I would definitely argue this is their best record, yet--barely surpassing Set Yourself On Fire, but I think it does.
07:52 PM on 09/12/12
radxbandit
i don't know
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best thing since in our bedroom after the war.
03:42 PM on 09/15/12
Kelly Doherty
@_kellydoherty for the lolz
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Great review and album.

Great review, I got into stars with the release of The Five Ghosts, and definitely love this album as well.

Good review. Love this band.

Thank you very much!
11:17 PM on 09/15/12
unicornurine
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I doubt this is gonna be very good.
Thank you for that insightful reasoning.

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