Set Yourself on Fire

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Elder statesmen of Montreal's fertile indie scene, Stars have blossomed from their origins as a keyboard-driven duo in love with the Smiths, New Order, and the Pet Shop boys into a sextet capable of breathtaking pop. If their second album, 2003's Heart, was the first sign of this transformation, Set Yourself on Fire is the fulfillment of that promise -- a work full of zeal and beauty that is an early contender for best of the year. Running the gambit of emotions, Set Yourself on Fire is Stars' call-to-arms to a sleeping public -- a plea to wake up and feel something, anything, even if it's something bad. "It terrifies you, but it's real," Torquil Campbell sings on the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Elder statesmen of Montreal's fertile indie scene, Stars have blossomed from their origins as a keyboard-driven duo in love with the Smiths, New Order, and the Pet Shop boys into a sextet capable of breathtaking pop. If their second album, 2003's Heart, was the first sign of this transformation, Set Yourself on Fire is the fulfillment of that promise -- a work full of zeal and beauty that is an early contender for best of the year. Running the gambit of emotions, Set Yourself on Fire is Stars' call-to-arms to a sleeping public -- a plea to wake up and feel something, anything, even if it's something bad. "It terrifies you, but it's real," Torquil Campbell sings on the album's centerpiece, "Soft Revolution," whose chorus soars with strings, horns, and "ahhs." It's just one of the disc's many mini-epics, which can turn from synth-pop to lush jazz within the confines of a song. Guitarist Amy Millan takes lead on the album's purest pop moment, "Ageless Beauty," as well as the ethereal "Sleep Tonight." It's when Campbell and Millan's voices meld, however, that they truly come alight, as on the waltz-time album-opener "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead," "The First Five Times," and "Reunion," all of which deal with that messiest of emotions -- love. There's no other band today making music quite like Stars, and Set Yourself on Fire is a gorgeous reminder that the best place to be at any given time is right here, living in the moment.
All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
The artwork for Stars' Set Yourself on Fire is eye-catching and dramatic, like a protest painting or Keith Haring subway drawing. And that's before you find the inside shot of a woman in a ski mask and little else, contemplating a flaming hand torch. The art direction's boldness complements the maturity in Stars' music, where nothing's just indie pop and string arrangements sound as perfect as the keyboards. Vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan enunciate every word with careful precision, and they sing of remembered high-school romances, dead ex-lovers, and drunk current ones in basic but powerfully evocative language. It's a twentysomething life, told in short story form. In opener "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead," Campbell and Millan's characters don't rekindle their relationship, but they don't apologize for its end, either. "I'm not sorry I met you," they harmonize. "I'm not sorry it's over/I'm not sorry there's nothing to save," and the song's strings and brass build to a surging outro that's the wordless acknowledgement of everything they had. The title track is augmented by strings of its own, keening dizzily in the background of an undeniable electronic pop pulse, and "What I'm Trying to Say" does the same thing, but replaces the strings with electric guitar. "Reunion"'s near-perfect guitar pop brings to mind Spoon, and mid-album mates "Sleep Tonight" and "First Five Times" have different views on the intent of and locations for modern romance. The songs blend trumpet, keyboard effects, acoustic guitar, and electronic and analog percussion for an intelligent pop sound that doesn't need bells and whistles to be unique. Stars rely instead on melody, charisma, and lyrics as sharp as any modern essayist, and it's all they need to sell the quiet grandness of Set Yourself On Fire.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
Witty, pretty indie rock for the sentimental geek inside all of us.

Witty, pretty indie rock for the sentimental geek inside all of us.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/8/2005
  • Label: Arts & Crafts
  • UPC: 060270061927
  • Catalog Number: 9
  • Sales rank: 40,843

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stars Primary Artist
Doug Campbell Voices
James Shaw Guitar
Evan Cranley Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Trombone, Drums, Bass Guitar, Horn, Synthesizer Bass
Torquil Campbell Trumpet, Keyboards, Vocals
Chris Seligman Horn, French Horn, Keyboards
Eric Hove Saxophone
Ibolya Kaslik Choir, Chorus
Murray Lightburn Choir, Chorus
Natalia Yanchak Choir, Chorus
Markia Anthony Shaw Viola
Anne Marie Leblanc Cello
Rachel Moody Violin
Aaron Seligman Choir, Chorus
Dan Seligman Choir, Chorus
Noel Sobara Choir, Chorus
Lana Tomlin Violin
Amy Millan Guitar, Vocals
Pat McGee Percussion, Drums, Glockenspiel
Technical Credits
Stars Producer
Brett Zilahi Mastering
Joao Carvalho Mastering
James Shaw Producer
Chris Seligman String Arrangements
Ibolya Kaslik Liner Notes
Tom McFall Producer, Engineer
Cy Scobie String Arrangements
Drew Malamud Engineer, Mastering
Marcus Paquin Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I am utterly floored.

    This CD is amazing. If you feel down, bored, or restless, simply pop this CD into your player and be taken away. All thirteen tracks are original, slighty pop-ish, and will no doubtedly brighten your day. The vocals are beautiful, the melodies catchy and bright, and together, that makes one heck of a combination. So buy this CD! It will be the one decision you make in your life that you won't regret later!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    They Draw You In

    They draw you in with their soft emotions. They are masters at being subtle, and choose the most amazing uses of instruments in combination to express exactly what they mean.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews