Stars – The Five Ghosts
June 21, 2010
I was looking forward to hearing new material by Canadian indie-rockers Stars. Their previous works displayed quality music and often had a thoughtful concept. This newest release is titled “The Five Ghosts” which is also vaguely the theme of the album.
This corner of indie-rock has been gaining popularity over the last decade with bands like Death Cab For Cutie/The Postal Service, Belle & Sebastian, Metric, Minus The Bear, The Decemberists, The Shins, etc. Stars and their other incarnation, Broken Social Scene, however always held a special place in the spectrum for me. Together with Death Cab & The Decemberists, I think Stars (even more than BSS) were trying to push the boundaries. And sadly, that is exactly what I’m missing on “The Five Ghosts”. It goes too far to call the songs predictable or uncreative, but there is no denying that the band plays it a little safe on this latest release. At times, not often, but at times, the album made me think of Broken Bells, where it is a more than solid release but can’t really break free and blow your mind.
There are still moments where their ingenuity shines through on a track like We Don’t Want Your Body which is a danceable, almost funky track with a clever use of distortion and synths. Also The Last Song Ever Written and the fast-paced indie-rocker How Much More are signs of the band’s excellence.
Overall, the album may not be their best, but with their 5th studio album they still reach a high level of musicianship and clever use of instruments, harmonies and producing techniques that makes the album a release to be aware of. It’s good stuff, but based on the potential in the band I have to say I am slightly disappointed.