“The Theory Of Relativity” , the lead off single and opening track off “The North“, takes you down a neon alley way where people are offering you party drugs and Red Bull/Vodkas. Sounds like a good time, right? Don’t get too comfortable.
A band’s opening track is a very good indicator of what their intentions are for the rest of the record and in Stars’ case, their intentions are to make absolutely sure you buy that single and put the record on while you and your friends get f**ked up. That’s not to say the rest of the record isn’t good or interesting, because as far as synth laden pop goes, it’s pretty damn good, but there is more to this band than party music.
The single is very catchy and danceable, if not a bit misleading as to what you’re in for in the thirty plus minutes that follow it. The remainder of the record finds Stars primarily sticking to an electronic danceability as their backbone, but tracks like “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It” give off an anthemic, The Killers-esque grandiosity, while the title track “The North” flirts with Death Cab-y introspection and articulation.
“Do You Want To Die Together” and “The Loose Ends Will Make Knots” are two of the very few weak points in an otherwise impressive effort. The sing-song counterpoint gets kind of annoying and does nothing to further the record along other than filling up space in the track listing.
The downtempo “Lights Changing Colour” is Amy Milan’s shining moment on the album. It is perhaps my favorite track off of this release, and the most odd ball out of the bunch. It relies more on the atmospherics and the breath in her delivery than a constant electro kick and snare beat. The absence of Torquil Campbell’s vocal on this particular track is a nice change of pace as he assumes most of the lead vocal duties on the rest of the recording.
“North” runs out of steam a bit toward the end and and is attempted to be revived by “Progress”, the album’s closing track, but at that point, I can let it slide. Stars have done their job.
The band has put together a more than solid record that spans a few different sonic territories while remaining fun and upbeat. Thanks to water-tight production at the hands of Graham Lessard and Marcus Pacquin (Arcade Fire), this record can stand up against any pop recording in recent memory.
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