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Heart

Stars

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Album Review

Though very Momus (whom Stars count as a fan) circa Voyager, Heart is much more twee pop despite similar keyboards and electronics. Stars work with bittersweet grooves, sleepy singing, and analog gurgles — which makes for a charming collection of electronic chamber pop. More New Order and Saint Etienne than Smiths, and with male and female vocals, the band comes across as an electro-pop Belle & Sebastian. Still, most of the songs lack the immediate hook of their folky counterparts. Stars songs tend to unfold more slowly, from the brilliant retro-futuristic "Death to Death" to the disco-lite Pet Shop Boys-styled "The Vanishing." Amy Millan's gorgeous voice is the group's greatest strength — on the bouncy, propulsive "Elevator Love Letter," for example. It's not surprising that Millan has contributed to movie soundtracks — the entire album would sit most comfortably as the decidedly outsider accompaniment to an appropriately indie "Romantic Comedy" (incidentally also the title of one of the record's most beautifully simple and sunny songs).

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Sharing a fondness for sophisticated soul and pop artists like the Smiths, New Order, and Marvin Gaye, vocalist Torquil Campbell and keyboardist Chris Seligman formed Stars in Toronto. Along with friends Evan Cranley (also of Big Rude Jake) and Amy Millan (who contributed to the soundtrack for the film Drowning Mona), the band relocated to New York City before returning to Canada, this time settling in Montreal. Their debut full-length, Nightsongs, was released in early 2001 on Le Grand Magistery,...
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Heart, Stars
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