San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

8 Days 'til Coachella - Stars

So tonight, I finally gave a proper listen to Stars, which is frequently referred to as a "Broken Social Scene side project." But let's face it, there's like 50 people in BSS, so it would be like referring to the USA as a United Kingdom side project.

I listened to the band's latest release (to my knowledge), In Our Bedroom After the War, and I have to say I liked it quite a bit. I probably should have listened to Set Yourself On Fire, which has been around longer, has a cooler name, and might be more representative of the group's sound, but fuck it. I'm going to base this review on this particular album.

What I like about it are the not-too-breathy-but-just-breathy-enough female vocals on tracks like The Night Starts Here and Midnight Coward, though same gets a little tired on My Favourite Book.

I like the arpeggiated basslines of songs like this one and the intro, The Beginning After the End. It's instantly catchy, sounding like you might have known this stuff all your life. Maybe that just means it's not the most original chord progression in existence, but if that's true, I don't care. What's original anymore anyway?

Take Me To the Riot sounds like the music Belle and Sebastian *should* be making these days, with its simple yet effective piano riffs and even simpler bass. I should probably comment on the lyrics, but on the first time through I'm just enamored with the catchyness of this track and I don't want to ruin it with too much analysis. I have no idea what they're saying but it doesn't really matter too much. Extra points for using "off" time signatures.

The Ghost of Genova Heights starts a little shaky, but hits strong at the chorus with vox reminiscent of Scissor Sisters, trippy detuned synth and slightly whacked-out delay effects. Yes, me likey that.

Personal is the first track that really gave me goosebumps. It's particularly effective if you've ever had a planned encounter with a stranger. The subdued piano complimented by the warbling pad sound perfectly capture that mixture of excitement and anxiety that accompany one to a blind date. At times it brings to mind that floaty, drugged-out feeling experienced when listening to BSS's Bandwitch.

Stars. Hell yes.

No comments: