Stars
The Five Ghosts


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
June 22nd, 2010 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stars release some of their most fluid and organic material to date.

At some point going into In Our Bedroom After the War, Stars hit a wall. Or they must have at any rate, considering the decline from the great Set Yourself on Fire. It wasn't especially steep; In Our Bedroom After the War had some excellent cuts in "Take Me to the Riot" and "Personal", but the album ultimately lacked the vigour of their past works. 2008's Sad RobotsEP was a step in the right direction; the band better captured the intimate vibes emphasized on In Our Bedroom After the War, while further developing Stars' usage of electronic instrumentation.

Really, Sad Robots was only hampered by its twenty-two minute runtime. Every time I hear "Sad Robot" close out the EP, I kind of wish that it would have carried on for another twenty to thirty minutes, giving the ideas that Stars explored. In some respect, The Five Ghosts continues where Sad Robots left off, though they do revisit their playful side in upbeat singles, "Fixed" and "We Don't Want Your Body". Both tracks stand out on early listens due to sheer catchiness, and "Fixed" certainly has the potential to be a hit. With that said, Stars are at their best in their slower, more minimal material, which sees them dig a little deeper. In and of itself, the Torquil Campbell/Amy Millan vocal trade-off in "Dead Hearts" work exceedingly well; factor in the lush guitars, and they sound almost flawless. Comparisons with the direction Metric took on Fantasies are apt, though The Five Ghosts utilizes keyboards more than guitars and is less polished. It's a fairly simple album in construction and sound, but the soothing melodies that were so effective in Fantasies songs like "Help I'm Alive" or "Blindness" (and an older song like "Police and the Private"), carry the record in "The Passenger", "He Dreams He's Awake", and the anomalous "Changes". And like Fantasies, The Five Ghosts achieves this sound in a number of different ways; "He Dreams He's Awake" is shrouded in atmospheric ambience, while "Wasted Daylight" is drenched in shimmery synthesizer, and "Changes" moves along at a slow waltz.

My first reaction to The Five Ghosts was that Stars could have let loose a little more like they do in "Fixed". Perhaps they could have (they really nail it on "Fixed"), but after repeated listens, it's pretty clear that the band is at their best when they get really intimate. With two straight strong releases in Sad Robots and The Five Ghosts, Stars are quickly carving out their own niche among their peers. And in doing so, they're writing some of the most fluid and organic music of their lives.



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user ratings (127)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Adam Knott EMERITUS (4)
No situational idiosyncrasy, no forced melodrama, just gorgeous reminders that people still care....


Comments:Add a Comment 
StreetlightRock
Emeritus
June 22nd 2010


3781 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So adorable. I love the way she delivers the chorus in We Don't Want Your Body. And the trade-off vocals on Dead Hearts (Still doesn't compare with the trade-off lines on Your Ex-Lover Is Dead though: 'and all of the time you thought I was sad/ I was trying to remember your name' - probably one of my favorite lines in all of music.)

AggravatedYeti
June 22nd 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I should get this soon.

BallsToTheWall
June 22nd 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rules

Prolapse
June 22nd 2010


4370 Comments


Great review, might check this out

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2010


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i dk this album is boring the shit out of me

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

AggravatedYeti
June 22nd 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

KLAPPED!

Ponton
Emeritus
June 22nd 2010


5820 Comments


A few songs off this sounded pretty great, may give the whole thing a spin, though I've yet to listen to any other Stars albums.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2010


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

there's great songs on here to be sure (like "Changes" is a fucking classic), but I don't think I've ever agreed with a Pitchfork review more than this one - the album just tends to blur together for me.

Knott-
Emeritus
June 22nd 2010


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dead Hearts is fucking amaaaaaaazing.

I love this album but I need more time.

Agreed with Alex re: Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

Bitchfork
June 22nd 2010


7584 Comments


A boring pop album? The fuck is this shit?

jeremologyy
June 23rd 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is actually my least favorite album by them. kind of boring and lifeless, with torq being nowhere near as good as he's been. whereare amy millan, contrarily, sounds better than ever. "fixed" and "Changes" are great, but mostly, this is their least thoughtful record to date.

Mikesn
Emeritus
June 23rd 2010


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

at least we can agree that amy millan is wonderful

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2010


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah amy definitely kicks torquil's ass on this

mvdu
June 23rd 2010


612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great album! I feel they made the electro-dance movement fit into their style of music. Gets better the more you listen. Torquil has one of the best songs, "I Died So I Could Haunt You," to his credit.

ilikeforests
June 23rd 2010


328 Comments


minus the odd song i just really dont like this band's songwriting...but ill probably end up checking this out eventually to see if there's another "window bird"

Enotron
June 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

listening now, don't really know what to think of dead hearts(almost too cute for its own good)

AggravatedYeti
June 26th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album feels about on par with the last one.

Enotron
June 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk whether I love this or whether it's too sugary ughhh

I dig the electro tint to it thoguh

americanmusicmachine
June 27th 2010


3953 Comments


i think this cd is alright. your review aint bad either brother, just keep trying you';ll get better.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2010


17231 Comments


Stars peaked with Set Yourself On Fire



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