2005_03_artsstars.jpgSpring is finally here, only it doesn't quite feel like it. We are in the purgatory of seasons. The cold winter is behind us, but the sun still refuses to show its face, fearing we're still mad at her for running away so many months ago. We will forgive her though for Spring is the season of rebirth and new love. But what of those winter loves? What of those nights spent with lovers under covers, watching movies in warmth as the snow tries to bury the singles outside? Do we abandon our winter loves to find a new piece of flesh glistening in the sun it hasn't seen in so long? Or do we throw another log of sentiment on the fire in an attempt to keep the embers of our winter love aflame?

On the new Stars album, we are told from the onset that, "when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire" -- hinting that we should sacrifice all that is within us to keep that love burning. But as the words fade, the opener Your Ex-Lover is Dead kicks in with its mellon collie strings, telling us the story of two former lovers reintroduced by a stranger and running off together only to come to the conclusion that it was never meant to be.

The song is pure indie pop bliss. Heavenly strings mix with sappy horns and reverberated guitars as the vocals trade off between the two lovers. The angelic voices of a man and woman dueting their innermost feelings before the girl finally laments, "I'm not sorry I met you, I'm not sorry it's over, I'm not sorry there's nothing to save."

Where the first song used strings to accompany the indie guitar sound, other songs throw in processed beats and poppy bleeps making the album sound like the love child of Broken Social Scene and The Postal Service, mixing the two up just enough to keep either sound from becoming repetitive, both styles serving as a lush backdrop for the male and female duets and harmonies that really shine on this album.

Set Yourself on Fire is dedicated to love, not unrequited love, or newfound shared joys, but that turning point where some things are starting to go wrong, but still so much is right. It's an album dedicated to people buried in the confusion of their love, trying to decide which way to go in that place where tenderness and bitterness still kiss. It is the perfect album to carry you out from under the covers of Winter and into the fields of Spring, no matter if you choose to take someone with you or go alone.

Stars latest cd, Set Yourself On Fire, was released on March 8th. The band will be playing at Bowery Ballroom on April 27th.

To submit a cd for review please email: nylund154@hotmail.com