Label: Soft Revolution Release date: 21/06/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon For Canadian sextet Stars, the world must be a bleak place. For good or bad, their music is often typified with melancholy, begging the question - what's so bad about life? Not being content with simply appearing in Canadian superband Broken Social Scene, Stars have found time to return with their fifth album ‘Five Ghosts’ following their critically acclaimed albums ‘In Our Bedroom After the War’ and ‘Set Yourself on Fire’ to remind audiences once again, that gloom has never been so catchy. ‘Five Ghosts’ retains the bands typical big, wall-of-sound style, typified by bright forceful synth-driven melodies, sultry boy-girl vocals and overstated 'love' metaphors. Never far from cheesy hooks and cliché chord structure, Stars definitely know how to compose a powerful melody and armed with typical North American sentimentality (lost partly in transatlantic translation), the songs are meticulously constructed to wrench at any heartstrings left in tact from their previous releases. Arguably, if it weren’t for the band’s array of beautiful lush instrumentation and delicate idiosyncratic vocal harmonies, there would be little to separate them from a conventional run of the mill ‘emo’ band. As much as it pains me to say, the album is plagued by being a bit average - especially considering their connection to the comparatively progressive and stimulating Broken Social Scene. Such mediocrity is even present in their previous albums - a flaw that has arguably prevented the band from hitting the big time like their Canadian counterparts. To make matters worse, the dense metallic production adds an undesirable clinical sheen to the record, concealing much of the subtly that proved so successful in their previous releases. It's clear, as it always has been, that Stars are more than capable of making a decent pop song; every Stars' album contains 1 part repetitive, dull speil and 1 part genius - it's a shame they can't stick to EPs. Stars are in limbo; they constantly swing between the thin line of perfect pop music and painfully cliché and until they upright this scale, the band will never escape being ‘just average’. Photobucket