It took me only a tad bit longer to get into Stars than it did Metric (both are Broken Social Scene-related bands, Stars sharing Amy Millan and Evan Cranley with BSS, Metric sharing Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw), but now I’d be hard pressed to choose between them. Thankfully I haven’t had to the last couple of years, since they’re offsetting their releases. This years’ Stars release is not quite a concept album, but is certainly built around the common motif of ghosts, dying, and a nebulous afterlife. All sounds rather morbid, but Stars’ evocative lyricism and intricate instrumentation keep it from being anything but hopeful, especially with Torquil and Amy’s wistful interpretations.
I think when this CD came out, I listened to it non-stop for a month. And I’m still drawn back to it more than almost any other album this year. Even the songs that I can tell I wouldn’t ordinarily like that much stick with me – like “Changes,” which is fairly trite lyrically compared with most of their stuff and pretty spare musically, yet ends up stuck in my head time after time simply because Amy’s voice soars so beautifully on it. I think she could sing her grocery lists and make me love it. Thankfully most of the songs stand up even beyond the vocals.
They’ve got an official video out for “Fixed,” but they’ve disabled embedding. It’s over here. I’ve got live versions of a couple of songs embedded below.