Montreal’s Stars are majestically good. Though we’ll forgive them for the misstep that was Do You Trust Your Friends (2007), a collection of “remixes, re-imaginings and re-interpretations” from various folks on the Montreal scene, their previous two efforts – Heart (2003) and Set Yourself on Fire (2005) – aren’t just worth their weight on vinyl. Almost three and four years later, both records sounds as fresh, beautiful, elegant, dynamic and engaging as they did when they were first released.
They’ve got a stellar lineup, with dualing vocals from Torquil Campbell (keyboard & trumpet) and Amy Millan (guitar), as well as Pat McGee on drums, Evan Cranley (bass, guitar and tombone) and Chris Seligman (keyboards, French Horn and programming).
One of their strengths is the switching off of vocal duties between Torq and Amy, not just singing different songs, but Stars are at their best when the two are switching off choruses in the songs. The soundscapes are melodic, swaying, with layers of swirling horns, thumping basslines, and broken off drum lines. Like the best fiction, the songs often crest and fall with the drama of the love lorn lyrics.
So you can say we’re pretty darn excited around here by the upcoming release of In Our Bedroom After the War, the band’s fourth full-length album. The band’s label Arts & Crafts, home to such Canadian Indie popsters like Broken Social Scene, Apostles of Hustle, Feist and Los Campesinos, has given the world the first single off the new album.
“The Night Starts Here” (Mp3) is slightly disappointing. It sounds unmistakably like a Stars song, but truth be told, it’s kinda anticlimactic, not nearly generating the kind of “buzz” I’d hope, not nearly equal to the best songs from the band’s catalogue. It’s got programmed drum beats, the dualing vocals and some fuzzed out guitars (like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-lite). And yet, and yet … it just falls flat for me.
Which is to say that, expectations are still sky high given past output and the album artwork! It’s entirely appropriate that they’d have an impressionistic painting on the cover, since their music could best be described as impressionistic.
In Our Bedroom After the War will be released on 9.25.07 on Arts & Crafts
(Thanks to The Gum for the heads up)