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Stars - The Five Ghosts Album Cover

Stars - The Five Ghosts

Reviewed by
8.6
StarsThe Five Ghosts
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Record Label: Vagrant
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Canadian indie-pop outfit Stars has a knack for making breaking up sound so good. Throughout the past decade, the quintet has turned bitter heartache into delectable pop numbers, charming fans with stellar albums such as undisputed favorites Heart and Set Yourself On Fire. The band looks to continue this trend with their Vagrant debut, The Five Ghosts, by dabbling in the afterlife, armed with 11 tracks that showcase dynamite duel vocals, infectious electro-pop melodies, and somber numbers.

The album begins like a beautiful waltz, as the elegant “Dead Hearts” features gorgeous give-and-take vocals between Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, and the strings combined with Pat McGee’s excellent percussion provide the cherry on top. Millan takes the reins on the electro-pop “Wasted Daylight,” while Campbell rejoins her on the intimate “I Died So I Could Haunt You.” The band lets loose with the incredibly infectious first single, “Fixed.” Chris Seligman’s keys pierce through the track as Millan’s voice once again takes control. Following that is the somewhat danceable, somewhat industrial “We Don’t Want Your Body.” Subtle keynotes shine underneath the bombastic electric drumbeat as the song revels in its upbeat nature.

But it’s not all pep on the band’s fifth studio album, as The Five Ghosts carries a theme that lies in morbid curiosity. The aforementioned “Dead Hearts” and “I Died So I Could Haunt You” follows this, as does the haunting “He Dreams He’s Awake,” which showcases the quintet in their natural surroundings – deep, dark, and brooding musical numbers that rely on theatrical musicianship. Campbell’s voice is remarkable on this track, as he is backed up by Millan’s eerie backup vocals. “The Last Song Ever Written” is soaked in the kind of musical melodrama that makes Stars so good, while “How Much More” is a fast-paced number that serves as the perfect contrast to Millan’s airy vocals.

Throughout The Five Ghosts, Millan is the centerpiece, as her voice carries this album. She doesn’t stay in one tempo, instead her vocals range from patient (“Changes” and “Winter Bones”) to urgent (“How Much More” and “We Don’t Want Your Body”). This is Millan’s album, so it comes as no surprise that some of the tracks suffer when her voice is absent. In the end, The Five Ghosts stacks up nicely with the other albums in Stars’ remarkable canon. Despite an increase in electro-pop and uptempo pieces, the vibe is still very much Stars, as the album, just like its predecessors, maintains that calm, mellow sound. The Five Ghosts is the band’s most consistent album yet, and their best since 2005’s Set Yourself On Fire. Just like that album, it explores the devastation of failed love, but this time they sprinkle in some optimism. Love may kill you, but it’s something you don’t want to live without.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Dead Hearts
2. Wasted Daylight
3. I Died So I Could Haunt You
4. Fixed
5. We Don’t Want Your Body
6. He Dreams He’s Awake
7. Changes
8. The Passenger
9. The Last Song Ever Written
10. How Much More
11. Winter Bones

Stars is:
Torquil Campbell – vocals/keyboard/trumpet
Chris Seligman – keys/programming/French horn
Amy Millan – vocals/guitar
Evan Cranley – bass/guitar/trombone
Pat McGee – drums

Official Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile; Official Twitter Account

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 53
03:18 AM on 06/23/10
#2
Romancebled
Sleep underground tonight...
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Great review. One of my favorite albums this year.
03:57 AM on 06/23/10
#3
SpyKi
This Charming Man
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Great review, gave me an awesome album by a band I've never heard of before.
05:17 AM on 06/23/10
#4
aradiantsunrise
i get what i want
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Good review. Such a good album.
05:29 AM on 06/23/10
#5
CheckeredFloors
nah
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Riyl?
07:02 AM on 06/23/10
#6
Shakriel
I just need reassurance.
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Great review. I think this might be my favorite of theirs.
07:21 AM on 06/23/10
#7
Young Machetes
Wasteland Explorer
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This album is Lydia's Illuminate beautiful
07:27 AM on 06/23/10
#8
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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I've got to listen to this some more. Review needs a copy edit but good content.
07:49 AM on 06/23/10
#9
Wake Up
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07:53 AM on 06/23/10
thechetearly
thechetearly
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so so so so so good.
07:53 AM on 06/23/10
demondays524
welcometonormal.tumblr.co m
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Excellent album. Great review.
07:54 AM on 06/23/10
thechetearly
thechetearly
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I've got to listen to this some more. Review needs a copy edit but good content.
have you checked out Gayngs yet man?

I'd love to see you write a review of that record.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.
07:56 AM on 06/23/10
JuneJuly
Allez l'OL
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Listened to the first two songs last night in bed...but wanted to give it my full attention so I stopped.
07:58 AM on 06/23/10
Ryan Gardner
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Giving this a listen for the first time right now...it's beautiful. Great review.
08:07 AM on 06/23/10
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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have you checked out Gayngs yet man?

I'd love to see you write a review of that record.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.
Never heard of them.

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