Stars – “In Our Bedroom After the War”

The recent release from Canadian indie-rockers Stars, “In Our Bedroom After the War,” is the quintet’s most compelling album yet. This follow-up to 2005’s “Set Yourself On Fire” focuses more on storytelling and imagery rather than the emotional turmoil and poetic lyrics of the first album. The tracks emphasize the meaning of the album’s title: As long as you dodge the bullets, you’re guaranteed to stay alive.

It’s the type of record that gets better with each track; it’s only right to listen to it many, many times. This album contains material from the past seven years. The band uses a flair for romance to its advantage with unique, impressive vocal arrangements. This makes up for the past three years when Stars left us without anything new.

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Armed with songs like “Personal” (about a classified ad gone wrong) and “Midnight Coward,” the band uses male and female vocals to their full advantage.

Unlike previous releases, this one is more mellow. After three records, it’s no surprise that they became a little less playful, but with age comes wisdom, which can make for great songs. “The Night Starts Here’’ is a great single, but becomes a bit repetitive with Amy Millan crooning the same line; nevertheless, the lyrics make up for that.

The sweet, sentimental “My Favourite Book” finds Millan singing about love. With a smooth, easy sound, it’s reminiscent of their hit “Ageless Beauty.” Other highlights include the U2-styled “Take Me to the Riot,” which starts slowly but picks up a with great chorus of booming cymbals and perfect vocals. The most unexpected moment comes in “Barricade” when Torquil Campbell gives his most passionate performance yet, backed by a lone piano.

“In Our Bedroom After the War” is definitely a must-have for everyone. Its twists and turns are full of the confusion and anxiety that comes with being in a relationship. And the perfect instrumentation will satisfy any fan and perhaps make others fall in love with them.

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