An amalgam of their past albums and experiences, The North by Stars is a sweet stream of melancholy. It focuses on more dramatic themes and carries a heavier message (as is the norm for Stars), yet still shines with wonderful bursts of cheer riddled throughout. This Canadian indie-pop quintet has had a career full of ups and downs since their formation in 1998, from which they have grown considerably as artists. Their experience gives their music a depth that is simply unparalleled by the fresh-faced indie bands Canada has been known to produce.
Stars started out small but gained more widespread recognition in 2004 with the release of their album Set Yourself on Fire. In the eight years since, their fame has grown, giving them a larger platform to branch out and try on new sounds. Their newest album, The North, has received much praise from their already devoted followers and is already one of their most successful releases to date. Some higher notes on the album include “Backlines” and “Theory of Relativity,” both songs with upbeat tempos and fun pop synthesizers.
The fun duo-vocals of Amy Millan and Torquill Campbell have an innocent romantic vibe that is starkly contrasted by songs such as “Do You Want to Die Together?” and “A Song Is a Weapon.” These are among the tracks that delve more deeply into the subjects Stars seems to love: life and death. These themes may go by the wayside in the first few tracks, but they are undeniable later in the album and on subsequent listens. Though it may take a few plays for the full message to sink in, The North is definitely worth warming up to.