Set Yourself On Fire
Layered music like this is so hard to pull off. Stars do it so well. Samplers and synths on the same track as live strings? While not unheard of, it's still quite a feat to make sound good. Pianos here, handclaps there, an electric buzz everywhere. It all comes together nicely and makes for something a little more than just indie pop. Listen to the rabid wailing about midway through "He Lied About Death". It's gorgeous, and I can't even tell what instrument is being played. Is that a saxophone? Montreal/Toronto seems to have been hoarding all the good musical talent for themselves the past few years.
I've just recently gotten into female vocalists. I can't say why I've never really dug them before, but I just never did. Amy Milan's voice is angelic and rivals even that of my one true love, Jennie Lewis. I fall in love with these voices and I might as well be falling in love with these women themselves. Even the duets, which I'm not too keen on generally, make me want to listen to more.
The only song I would've cut from the album is "Soft Revolution". It doesn't just sound like filler, it feels like filler. Every other song though has its own merit. I haven't been so enthralled by lyrics in a while. And I wouldn't have even been able to relate to them a year ago, hell, not even six months ago when this was released. Torquil Campbell sings in "One More Night":
And at the end of "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" Milan and Campbell harmonize:
As upbeat as most of them are, a lot of these songs really make me want to cry. I'm glad I didn't hear this when it first came out because I don't think I would have fully appreciated it.
Release date: March 8, 2005
Label: Arts and Crafts
Rating: 8.6 / 10
On the web: http://www.arts-crafts.ca/stars/
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