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The North

Date Released: September 4, 2012
Label: ATO Records
Reviewed by: Melissa Bond

Stars, the Canadian indie pop band just released their 6th studio album on September 4th The North. The album is far more upbeat than the past few albums preceding this release and as front woman Amy Millan says, "the album was supposed to be playful, joyful, and hopeful"
Right away opening track "The Theory of Relativity" gives the listener a good taste of that. With the use of synth to build the energy and the harmony of the male and female vocals that Stars always provide, this song couldn't have been a better way to build hype for the remainder of the album.
The majority of the album has strong electronic influences but is accompanied with other strong instrumentations that create an interesting balance and complex sound. Track 4, “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It” stands apart with the dominant drumming with a pop sound alongside.
Like most albums do, The North does have a much slower, softer tune towards the end called “The 400”. Instead of the synth, heavy drumming, and strong vocals, it focuses on piano and slower, wispy vocals.
Stars have brought an easy to listen to and far happier album than their last to fans and listeners with The North. They will be touring Canada and Europe over the next few months, but with the rising success of this new release there could be a growing demand for an American tour.


Date Released: September 4, 2012
Label: ATO Records
Reviewed by: Allison Johnson

Canadian Indie Pop band Stars released their sixth studio album The North back in September, and are currently at number 28 on the CMJ charts. The North has gotten good reviews across the board unlike Stars 2010 release The Five Ghosts, which received mixed reviews. If Stars are known for anything, it’s their consistent reliance on nostalgia, love and heartbreak to piece together an album that provokes emotions both good and bad. However, despite the occasional gloomy lyric, this album is leaning a little more on the sunny side of the street than in a dark corner of your bedroom.
“The Theory of Relativity,” the albums opener and perhaps one of the most upbeat songs Stars has written begins with an audio sample of someone talking, much like their popular track “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.” The song is mainly composed of 80’s tinged synth sounds and front man Torquil Campbell reciting a story of past turning present, and picking yourself back up when you fall down.
While listening to “Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It,” you’ll experience Campbell expressing his feelings on relationships with simple sincerity when he states “And the only way to last/ And the only way to live it/ Is to hold on when you get love and let go when you give it.” Paired with music that sounds like it’s straight from a New Order album, this track is one of The North’s greatest assets.
Female lead Amy Millan takes over on “Through The Mines,” with her falsetto voice leading a combination of bright guitars, drums and tambourine. Millan sings about the hopeful side on the battlefield of love, stating “You and I, we just might make it through the mines.” Again, providing a soft spot in the album.
As a whole, The North is one of Stars better albums that leaves you feeling more hopeful and less heartbroken. Campbell and Milan’s back and forth formula remains prevalent as it always has, and their story telling lyrics combined with an energetic backdrop make for an impressive sixth album.