Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stars: Back with "The North"

Stars, the Montreal-bred indie staples, helped nurture my love for new music.

Growing up on everything from Mariah Carey and Motown to I Mother Earth and Led Zeppelin - bands like Stars, Sufjan Stevens and Dave Matthews played a helping hand in molding my early teenage taste and fashioning my love for today's contemporary subculture sound which began to emerge post-grunge and 90s radio-rock era. In 2001, Stars captured my heart shortly after their inception with Nightsongs, Amy Millan and her brief sweet solo career sold me even more during my early years in university - and five full-length albums later, my heart still patters at their every single.

The North, released last week, adds to this longstanding adoration with its shiny, instrument-bogged singalongs, boy-girl duets and 50s-meets-80s melodic design that encompass the essence of their indie appeal. After Five Ghosts, their last near-flop, the band has re-emerged their strongest since Set Yourself On Fire, the 2004 classic LP which sealed their potential as one of Canada's greatest treasures.

The thing about Stars is their sublime versatility; it's so reassuring. Whether you're under the strobe lights on a crowded dance floor, smushed into a concert ground or alone during your nightly commute - their multi-faceted sugary-yet-profound anthems will do the trick. Amy and Torq's storytelling continues to evolve into their second decade as front man and woman, while remaining unmistakably reliable amidst the noise.

Buy this album.

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