Not to be confused with seventies hard rock outfit Starz (I made that mistake, I blame the Wildhearts), Stars are from Montreal, Quebec and purvey a sort of indie rock that's hard to categorise. It's not really tough-edged at all, but it has this kind of ecstatic quality that lifts you up and away on listening to it, in the same way that, say, Mercury Rev do, without quite as much bombast. It's all in the soft but insistent beat, the subtle but vital strings, and the vocals. The male vocals are all well and good, but really I think Stars need to focus more and more on Amy Millan, whose tone is almost naive on purpose, like she realises she's singing wistfully and romantically, but is just happy to do that and make pop music with a bit of life about it. It's so refreshing to hear songs that aren't cynical about anything these days, and it caught me a little off guard, to be honest.
Amy Millan also sings by herself, so that's worth a listen: as one Canuck put it on myspace, "best voice in our frigid little country!!"or if you will, "so basically I've never heard music as perfect as the art you create." Aahh, butt-kissers, I'm so with you.
So, thank you to More Than Milk and Clever Titles Are So Last Summer for hinting me in this direction. As I don't want to get bitch-slapped by Bethanne, they're yousendit'd rather than hotlinked...
Stars - Elevator Love Song is the song that I fell in love with. Buy from here, but please, please, don't get it confused with Simply Red. You might also like:
Stars - Ageless Beauty and
Amy Millan - Skinny Boy.
I'd love to direct you to somewhere where you can buy the album in the UK, but it's proving tricky, so try here: gentle indie-pop specialists Arts & Crafts.