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Set Yourself on Fire
     

Set Yourself on Fire

4.7 4
by Stars
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/08/2005
Label:
Arts & Crafts
UPC:
0060270061927
catalogNumber:
9
Rank:
94296

Related Subjects

Tracks

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
James Shaw   Producer
Chris Seligman   String Arrangements
Ibolya Kaslik   Liner Notes
Tom McFall   Producer,Engineer
Cy Scobie   String Arrangements
Drew Malamud   Engineer
Marcus Paquin   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Set Yourself on Fire 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
B-B_Bobington More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago