Canadian indie-pop band Stars' album 'The North' is a masterpiece
New CDs released Tuesday, Sept. 4, include "The North," a masterpiece by the Canadian indie-pop band Stars; Melissa Etheridge's "4th Street Feeling"; Bob Mould's "Silver Age"; and a brilliant jazz reunion by pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton, "Hot House."
Stars, 'The North' (Ato)
It took six albums, but Canadian indie-pop band Stars has finally come up with a masterpiece — a beautifully lush and sometimes aggressively rocking electro-pop CD titled "The North."
When the band announced the release in June, a free download of the first track, "The Theory of Relativity" (a pop-rock tune with pulsing beats and delicate vocals), was offered to fans simply willing to sign up for the band's email list.
It was a nice introduction to a beautifully crafted collection of 12 songs recorded by a group featuring Torq Campbell, Amy Millan, Chris Seligman, Evan Cranley and Patty McGee. Campbell and Millan's ethereal, sometimes intertwined vocals are a highlight of the album (on a couple of tracks Campbell sounds remarkably like Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard).
Among the gems are "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give," featuring an irresistible synth-based hook; and the powerful, rocking "Do You Want to Die Together?" (in which Millan and Campbell trade vocals like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet).
The band's music recalls that of the Smiths and New Order, but with a melancholy, wintry feel that seems to reflect eastern Canada's arctic and subarctic climates.
Gene Stout, Special to The Seattle Times
Other new releases
Melissa Etheridge, "4th Street Feeling" (Island)
Bob Mould, "Silver Age" (Merge)
Gary Burton and Chick Corea, "Hot House" (Concord)