Arts & Crafts

Stars are a four-piece electronic pop band currently based in Montreal. Having solidified their songcraft with each release, Heart sees them also expanding the focus of their sound.

Their debut, Nightsongs, was an admitted “loving pastiche” of the ’80s. On The Comeback EP this material flowered into lovely, ethereal ballads that would have gone platinum in a better world. A wonderful EP, it had the kind of lovely songs you immediately want to start playing for your friends, for an obsession shared is an opinion confirmed. And oh, what Arif Mardin could have done with them back in the day.

Heart suffers only slightly from comparison to these first two CDs, for there are no gems here to equal “Counting Stars on the Ceiling,” or “Going, Going Gone” from their debut album. Nor The Comeback‘s out of this world “Aspidistra Files,” which upped the ante as great pop/rock songwriting at its most whimsical.

But “Elevator Love Letter” sounds as if Pet Shop Boys had written one of their wistful, sophisticated songs to be performed with the sweet simplicity of Adventures In Stereo. And “The Vanishing” is exactly the kind of smooth, urban soul Marvin Gaye would be singing if he had lived to follow-up “Sexual Healing.”

Besides those songs previously mentioned, the best realized lyric may be “Life Effect,” but “Time Can Never Kill The True Heart” comes in close:

One heart out of two / one life me and you / Made love, and you muttered “we’re through.”

If this keeps up, Stars’ next CD should reflect the entire history of pop and rock performance. That may be wishful thinking, but I wouldn’t bet against them. This are a band to dream with when not singing along to.

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