November 13, 2003

Test Spin: Stars

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Who doesn’t love little kids? They tend to be emotionally direct and always in need of love without being ashamed of it. It can be incredibly endearing and I sometimes feel that as adults if we could just shed our fears of exposing that vulnerability, life would be more pleasant. When I heard my cousin was having a baby I was so excited by the idea of it, even after he told me they were naming it Heart.

My cousin, Stars, had been through his fair share of relationships. Stars would tell me about his love life over a warm fire, holding Heart close. He was trying to be as open and genuine as he could possibly be, and in many ways he was, but sometimes I couldn’t help but feel like he was trying too hard to force this aesthetically pleasing yuppie bitter sweetness on me just to get a reaction.

He once told me, “sometimes the T.V. is like a lover” and I felt like grabbing Heart from him and covering the poor kid’s ears, but I ended up vomiting before I could make it over. But then there were other times when his stories would hit me with a naked accuracy despite our differences. I’d come to their house at the end of a long night, having fallen back into a familiar trap, defeated. I’d lie down on the floor and look over at Heart. She’d be glaring straight ahead of her with glazed eyes, like babies do, grabbing at non-existent objects, giggling, falling, getting back up. I envied it. Then she’d make her way to me, crawling, and tug on my shirt. I could hear Stars’s voice in the background, “I think I saw your airplane in the sky tonight, through my window lying on the kitchen floor.”

[End of metaphor, beginning of “review”] In this second outing by Stars, Broken Social Scene label mates and fellow Canadians, they find themselves indulging in smart, cheezy synth pop with fluid baselines and hints of pleasantly distorted electric guitars underlined by touches of electronica. Top it off with some male/female back and forth dreamy, twee pop vocals without a hint of shame and you’ve basically got the best and worst of everything that is Canada.

Archived article by Deepal Chadha