Stars - Set Yourself On Fire

Mike Mantin 08/08/2005

Rating: 4/5

Stars' second UK album (previous effort 'Heart' is also recommended) is a minor indie-pop masterpiece, boasting luscious tunes delivered by two genuinely beautiful voices in Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan. It works best when the two are together as characters, as on opener 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead' which recalls 'Nothing Better' by the much-loved Postal Service. They're excellent lyricists, too, possessing the ability to hide dark themes under shiny pop songs, like on the pretty title track which contains the lyric, “In a cancer ward where the patients sit/Waiting patiently to die”. Two of their members are also in experimental collective Broken Social Scene, so obviously they pitch in a few successful stabs at being different from the typical gentle indie strummers: tracks like 'What I'm Trying To Say' are propelled by stabby keyboards rather than guitars, and BSS bassist Evan Cranley constantly steals the show with the kind of catchy bassline that could be found on the Scene's classic album 'You Forgot It In People'. 'Set Yourself On Fire' could see Stars jostling with The Arcade Fire as the best band of the Montreal indie scene