Stars: The North
Stars: The North – Longevity in the indie rock business is not something easy to come by, but since their debut in 2001 and with their sixth full length album released on September 4th, Stars make it look like a breeze. Based out of Canada, Torquil Campbell, Evan Cranley, Patrick Mcgee, Chris Seligman, and Amy Millan have been together as Stars, since 1998. With their newest record, The North, they embrace so many different elements, from 80’s dance beats to rock melodies, to that ineffable aspect that makes indie bands so authentic. Torquil has such an endearing voice that meshes so well with Amy Millan’s voice that they completely complement each other, especially when harmonizing. Their voices are made for each other and with that they create a dance, a love song; regardless if they meant to or not. Everything they sing comes out romantic, intertwined, unrequited and even happy.
‘The Theory of Relativity’ kicks off The North, and was also released as the first single. The songs begins with a spoken mantra: “well the only way I see this happening is…in an extended ride north,” that shapes the feel of the rest of the album. This first song is filled with beats that will make you want to dance and creates an excellent gateway for the rest of the songs to follow. The song that give this album its name, ‘The North’ is impossible not to sing along to… The lyrics permeate with love and survival. Every song on The North is filled with intuitive and insightful lyricism that it allows the listener to envision their own ideals as well as appreciate the band’s interpretation. So often making songs that sound good and making songs that are meaningful do not coincide. ‘Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It’ gives its listeners hope: “but if you like it sing along, sing cuz you don’t know how to say, take the weakest thing in you and we’ll beat the bastards with it.” ‘Do You Want To Die Together’ is the quintessential love song; It says everything you have been dying to say, but takes all of the ridiculousness out of it, “everything but you is an ugly lie,” and complemented by heavy guitar riffs, it feels even more passionate.
The North saves the best for last with its last three songs. ‘Progress’ features Amy on lead vocals which we always welcome with open arms. One of the most powerful songs on this record is ‘The 400.’ The intensely repetitive nature “it has to go right this time, it has to go right this time, it has to go right this time…” coalesced with the simplistic melody of the piano, the song is so beautifully constructed it seems both limitless and infinite. And the final song ‘Walls’ is the perfect unification of the album as a whole. It is teeming with whimsical banter and unforeseen dance beats.
Simply put, The North is brilliant…10/10.