Prepare to fall in love upon listening to Stars new album, The Five Ghosts. If you enjoy the music this band has produced in the past nine or so years, then there is a good chance this album will stir up a lot of things in your body. It’s okay, let it happen. Awakenings and shakings of the soul never felt so good. Just as a great classic movie is a force unto itself, Stars are simply that. They make string-heavy music about death and the haunted, love, and the un-loved. They spin dour dramatic dance pop odes to heartbreak and getting revenge-drunk on brandy. They sing beautiful songs to the ghosts that haunt us when we sleep, make love, hate, crumble, pray and fade away. These are personal tales laid bare and spun into a kind of maudlin tragic comedy set to music under the strong guise of death and what comes next.
The dreamy and sweeping “Dead Hearts” begins the journey as vocalists Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell converse on ghosts of children once known and how dead hearts are everywhere. Strings and pretty sounds fill everything with light, offering a perfect opening to a nearly perfect album by a band that is just so good at what they do, transforming mope into hope and twisting heartache into resolve through masterfully weaved sound alchemy. The Five Ghosts is a winner down the middle, and though dramatic and maybe even a bit sad, these songs about despair end up feeling light and moving as the heaviest of feelings are translated through honeyed tales spun so eloquently.