stars - in our bedroom after the war review
July 20, 2007 by cash
With the synthetic heartbeat of a deep, electronic bass drum, a sweeping wave of strings and a mysterious vocal sample, Stars’ latest opus ‘In our bedroom after the war’ begins. I’ve always called Stars the perfect interim band as I wait for the next Postal Service album (think angelic arrangements and a brilliant indie-pop sensibility that delicately dances the line between manic and depressive) and IOBATW doesn’t disappoint.
Hook centric, catchy as hell “The Night Starts Here” screams ‘commercial hit’ while maintaining lyrical integrity. “Take Me to the Riot” picks up where “Ageless Beauty” (from 2005’s amazing “Set Yourself On Fire”) left off- all witty couplets, piano chords and simple insights on the games couples play, yet never seem to win;
You despise me / And I love you / It’s not much / But it’s just enough to keep
Stars have an innate talent for transcending a dozen different styles in the course of an album, yet maintaining a cohesive sound that blends seamlessly. Echoes of everything from 50’s bubblegum pop (the tasty love letter of “My Favourite Book”) to Jamiroquai influenced falsetto funk (”The Ghost of Genova Heights”) infuse IOBATW with constant sonic variety.
Another gift Stars are blessed with is the back and forth male/female vocal duets that reinforce the delicacy of romantic relationships by telling both sides of the emotional story. Nowhere is this more compelling (and mournful) than in the sterile, minimal world of “Personal”. A two sided monologue (detailing a failed attempt at an online romance) it’s easily the most heartfelt Stars track since “Your Ex-Girlfriend Is Dead”; wrenching in its sincerity.
The album has its share of more upbeat fare as well. The strangely Billy Joel-esq piano solo of “Barricade” is saved by twisted, tongue in cheek lyrics almost worthy of Morrissey;
Oh how could anyone not love the terrible things you do? / Oh how could anyone not want to try and help you?
Overall, “In our bedroom after the war” is a like a shoe box full of pictures from an impossibly important relationship long since past. You know looking at them will stir up intense emotions, possibly ending in tears.
You also know it’ll be worth it.
Download these (at least):
- The Night Starts Here
- Life 2: The Unhappy Ending
Nod crafty song sleuth Sean for the hip tip on this album’s early release (digital only for now, CD drops in September). I’m forever grateful.