Album Review: Stars | The North

In 2001 Stars released Nightsongs, a sleek soundtrack for after-hours spent under bedside lamps instead of city lights. Despite lyrics about breakups, it sounded a little like Portishead for people who haven't had sex yet. Eleven years later, the Montreal quintet is still singing about young lovers, but their gimlet eyes have narrowed. On "The Theory of Relativity," the first single from their sixth studio album The North (out now on ATO), frontman Torquil Campbell beseeches someone to "stop to think a little." Blooming with synths, the track re-attires indie pop for the dance club. But Campbell and vocalist Amy Millan are neither epicureans nor schoolmarms--they're romantics, but lately more headstrong than heartsick. "Hold on/Let it turn around, spin another way," Millan implores on "Lights Changing Colour," her honeyed whisper softening the willful circumspection. It's a divided sentiment but a roomier one. Up north, there are nightsongs for all kinds of darkness.

Stars | The North, $11.99, youarestars.com

By Rich Bellis

Photo via Stereogum

Tagged in: Torquil Campbell, The North, Stars, music reviews, Amy Millan   

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