The Five Ghosts is
simple and direct. Following 2007’s epic In
Our Bedroom After The War, it’s as if Stars stripped everything away and
started to rebuild. And they knew just where to begin the process as the warmth
of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan’s voices intertwining anchor this outing.
Since 2005’s breakthrough Set Yourself On
Fire the two have collaborated harmoniously, defying the odds set by power
struggles of countless male-female pop counterparts.
While each carries his or her own song, it’s a pleasure to
find them sharing duties on so many new-wave tinged goodies. “Dead Hearts”
builds stirring strings over softly plucked guitar and sparks the motif of
spirits and apparitions, culminating with choruses of “They were kids that I
once knew” and “Dead hearts are everywhere.” That familiar aura of earnest
heartfelt pop doesn’t occupy much of the record, though, as the theme
acquiesces to an eccentric silliness reminiscent of Dead Man’s Bones on “We
Don’t Want Your Body,” a fun sex and vampires romp that bridges its verse and
thumping chorus with haunted house organ runs.
Lacking weight seems to be the point, despite downtempo
numbers outweighing the sing alongs. Happy or sad, Stars is here for a good
Standout Tracks: “Fixed,”
“We Don’t Want Your Body” ZACH BLOOM