STARS open up for Metric November 24 at the Air Canada Centre. See listing. Rating: NNNN
On their sixth full-length, the Stars haven't drastically reinvented themselves, but somehow the hooks and sounds seem much bigger and better than before. The synth pop bits are lusher than ever, and when the band rocks out, the results are bombastic and unexpectedly aggressive without clashing with their delicate melodies. You can hear references to New Order and the Smiths and, on the more modern end of the spectrum, some of the electronic elements evoke M83. More than anything, though, they sound confident and self-assured.
It's hard to put your finger on why this collection of songs works so well. Did they buy some new synthesizers or just learn to master the ones they had? Maybe it was just a case of being more inspired. Whatever the reason, this batch of 80s-pop-inspired tunes is packed with earworms and remarkably filler-free. They're still not the most fashionable band around, but is that something you really care about?
Top track: Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It