Stars performing on the third day at WayHome Music & Arts Festival 2016 held at Burl's Creek Event Grounds, Oro Medonte, Canada - Monday 25th July 2016
Stars' career has been one in which life has imitated art to an almost painful degree: whereas their music has often been critically acclaimed ever since the 2001 release of their début 'Nightsongs', the lot of world domination they may crave has fallen to that of fellow Canadians Arcade Fire.
Some of this is a result of consistency, or more accurately a lack of it. At its apex, their music is little short of breathtaking - 'The Ghost of Genova Heights' (From 2007 release 'In Our Bedroom After The War') and 'A Song Is A Weapon' (From 2012's 'The North') were as close to perfection as intelligent, highbrow pop as anyone has come in recent times. Their problem has been that too often they've been content to live within themselves, preferring understatement to hitching themselves to the devil's wagon. On 'No One Is Lost', they attempt to do just that. Inspiration according to lead Star Torquil Campbell came from a gay disco positioned directly beneath the recording studio under which he slept during the recording process, a constant stream of boogie which has in turn liberated the band's music from its slightly worthy former pretext. In short: Its mind is now free, and its ass follows.
Anyone under any illusions about this metamorphosis needs just to take in the first few bars of opener 'From The Night', its little bass skitters and robo-handclaps making them hardly the first outfit to head for anonymity of the flashing lights, but few have done so with such total abandonment. That's not to say that they've lost any of the anger which has made their songs so bitterly sardonic. On 'Trap Door', they explore mortality and the myth(s) of choice, Campbell as irascible as on anything they've produced in the last decade and a half. His foil throughout is Amy Milan, the drifting softness of her voice adding a dream-sequence quality to songs like 'Turn It Up' and the perfectly executed 20th century pique of 'No Better Place'. Both are examples of how forgetting everything makes you remember sometimes what you're really good at. Neither leave the brain at the first time of asking.
Continue reading: Stars - No One Is Lost Album Review