Originally published June 21, 2012 on Intersections.
Canadian indie-rock stalwarts Stars announced their sixth studio album this morning, officially ending any and all productivity I might’ve had in the middle of this workday. The North will be released Sept. 4 on ATO Records, featuring cover artwork and a general color scheme in a fuzzy, coastal sort of blue that vaguely reminds me of Greece. It’s a nice departure from the burnt gray city and creepy children that defined the look and sound of the band’s last album, The Five Ghosts — not that I didn’t really dig “Dead Hearts,” guys, but this cheerier Stars, more “Elevator Love Letter” than “Barricade,” is something I can get on board with.
If sneak peek track “The Theory of Relativity” is any indication, Stars has, like everyone else these days, been not-so-subtly influenced by the bursting electronica scene. More thoughts when I’ve given it some more listens, but I dig the sound: it’s got the midtempo pace of all your indie-rock favorites from the early 2000s, with sparkling, pulsing production over ribbons of synth and the ever-present buzzing guitar. Lyrically and vocally, it’s definitely Stars — Amy and Torq harmonize beautifully on vaguely relevant platitudes of “don’t be scared,” Torq reminisces about his schoolyard days — but I like this new direction, and I think it works.
Click the album cover to be directed to the band’s SoundCloud upload of “The Theory of Relativity,” available now for free download from their website here.