Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stars - Set Yourself On Fire

"Anyway... I've started to make a tape... in my head... for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done." - Rob, High Fidelity

In a rather unexpected turn of events, i have momentarily found some love in my normally bleak, vicious life. "o no," you might think to yrself, "does this mean he's gonna stop posting nasty noise & misanthropic black metal?" Not by a fucking long shot. For one, there's still plenty of emptiness and pointlessness to existence, even while in the throes of romance and two, this chick's cool, and likes all manner of harshness. Encourages it, even.

i'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that for all my years, and all my love interests, hardly ever have i ever stopped to consider another person's aesthetic, to step behind their eyelids for a moment and try to figure out what makes them tick. I've remained relatively distant and disaffected over the years, preserving my hide and soul at all costs. But i ended up making music with this girl (we play in a band called meta pinnacle), and over the months of writing and learning songs with this person, i ended up taking on some of her taste, by default, trying to make shit sound as best as possible.

We've covered 2 songs off of this record, so far: 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead' and 'Sleep Tonight,' both of which i love. For some, to hear Set Yrself On Fire 7 years after the fact, one may be tempted to disregard it as another jaunty post-punk orchestral pop record that anybody vaguely familiar with Death Cab For Cutie or anything rubbing up against Broken Social Scene sounds like. Its dismissive, and indicative of some of the challenges facing us as a listening public, these days. There were times when you may only get one new album a month, or maybe once a week, tops, which means you'd have at least 7 days to assimilate the intricacies of song-writing craft etched on the grooves. SYOF's strength, like many or most things in life, lie in the details, like the gentle, drifting guitar on the tail end of the title track, or the string and horn arrangements on 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead'. In a lot of ways, Stars' sound like DCFC or The Strokes being backed by The Lefte Banke. And the thing of it is, if you don't immediately discredit this record like some hipster prick and actually give it a bloody chance, you may realize that there are aspects of music with far more street cred, like the vocal interplay between Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, which bring to mind the heavenly harmonies of My Bloody Valentine, or the dreamy delayed guitar that sounds just like epic post-rock. The arsenal of unusual instrumentation bring to mind old, good Belle & Sebastien, and the overall effect is of a multi-hued, many-textured mature record.

I had totally burned out on mid-'00s Indie Rock, one too many Postal Service listens possibly, but this girl has forced me to open my eyes, re-consider my position, and make me wonder what else i might be missing.  There's a shitload of good songs on this record, the production rocks, and there's enough interesting aspects to overlook the bullshit Julian Casablancas aping.

There's going to be a lot more, where this came from...