Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Set Yourself On Fire (2005)

Arts And Crafts

The thought of a band blending the vocals of both Azure Ray and Morrissey and the unique instrumental assembly of Neutral Milk Hotel almost sounds to good to be true, and yet, Stars manages to deliver just that. With an album featuring trumpets, glockenspiels, French horns, saxophones, violins, and cellos, anything short of an "epic" sound is unrealistic.

Here on Stars' third full-length Set Yourself On Fire, the listener is introduced to themes of passion, delivered in an ornate array of both synths and strings, creating a most eclectic and romantic album. Upon listening to such a release, setting one's self ablaze, if you will, is a completely unsuitable option.

Set Yourself On Fire opens with the words "when there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire," leading right into the string ensemble's powerful display of talent. "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" offers the listener a sample of both male and female vocals, as well as frequent time changes accompanied by breathy vocals. Synths are in full swing during the album's upbeat title track, while the album's jewel, "Reunion," boasts a catchy chorus and reference to "sucking freezies in the rain."

Tracks like "The Big Fight" offer an incredibly appealing quality: conversational-esque vocals. And though the lyrics can be a bit much throughout the album (see: "you look so good in the clothes of a poser"), Stars manage to redeem themselves steadfast with their charming harmonies.

The mass appeal of male/female vocals has become quite evident in the U.S. with bands in the likes of Mates Of State, yet these Canadians could sure teach us all a thing or two about indie pop done right.