The Five Ghosts


Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. The Five Ghosts is the band's most consistent album yet, and their best since 2005's "Set Yourself On Fire."
  2. Ghosts skirts its predecessor's instrumental self-indulgence, allowing its tracks to swim in grandeur--but not drown.
  3. Stars are quickly carving out their own niche among their peers. And in doing so, they're writing some of the most fluid and organic music of their lives.
  4. Alternative Press
    Listening to singers Torquil Campbell and Amuy Millan is like watching two dancers perform an urgent ballet: Their equally lovely voices merge and seperate, always working in unison and sometimes soaring above the other. [Jul 2010, p.127]
  5. The music brims with optimism, full of major chords, sparkling synthetic sounds and tireless electronic beats.
  6. Q Magazine
    The Five Ghosts deserves to chaperone them to greater things. [Sep 2010, p.121]
  7. 74
    What it boils down to is that everything on this squeaky-clean album is carefully calculated, from perfectly placed synthesizers to haunting vocals. The Five Ghosts is something for which it can be suspected fans will be jonesing for some time.
  8. The Five Ghosts is another album in a long line of works that are sure to make teens weep and well-adjusted adults hopelessly nostalgic. [Spring 2010, p.65]
  9. The weaknesses of The Five Ghosts are few and far between and, overall, it's an enjoyable and satisfying record for one of indie pop's most consistent bands.
  10. 70
    At its best moments, the latest effort from Stars yearns for the flicker flame of "Set Yourself on Fire," but it is neither as gorgeous as nor is it as jarring a mixed bag as "In Our Bedroom."
  11. While it's all tricky, well-crafted music about heartbreak, nothing here breaks hearts the way the best Stars tracks over the years have done. Instead, Stars settle for big hooks and big emotions that inspire more admiration than empathy.
  12. Stars may be moving beyond songs like the soothing and dramatic opener "Dead Hearts," but it's not quite clear where they're going.
  13. 60
    Ghosts' flowing, synth-backed melodies are a vast improvement on 2006's hammy In Our Bedroom After the War, if not 2004's near-perfect Set Yourself on Fire. Cute isn't what Stars aim for, but it's often what they achieve.
  14. While a few hooks stand out--particularly the "fisticuffs" chorus of "Fixed"--most of the songs are too watered down, lyrically and musically, to be truly enticing.
  15. The elegant album is wisely paced, cinematic with strings and keyboards, and Campbell and Millan sound great together. But despite the emotional drama on offer, it fails to be moving.
  16. The Five Ghosts chooses to communicate in a simpler, terser manner, which counteracts their evident vigor to test out miscellaneous musical approaches. By switching their objective, Stars' fifth effort has become their true reversal of fortune.
  17. Wasted Daylight, a sugary, ambient number, offers a particularly sublime performance from Millan, as does He Dreams He's Awake, of Campbell. However, these two are the fairly obvious highlights in an otherwise misfired effort.
  18. Their fifth album typifies Stars' more epic melodrama--in awe of Prefab Sprout, New Order and the 1980s to the point where you can imagine videos featuring moody-looking types staring over windswept beaches, pondering Russian novels and their spots. It's all absurdly pretty.
  19. Uncut
    The overall effect is all a bit "earnest teen drama"--"Dead Hearts" is a surely shoo-in for the soundtrack of the next Twilight movie--but the hit-rate is impressively high. [Sep 2010, p.104]
  20. They know bombast and melodrama, which makes a decent amount of their latest effort, The Five Ghosts, all the more off-putting.
  21. The formula works better elsewhere (see the perky, airy single "Fixed"), but like the adolescent musings that serve as its inspiration, The Five Ghosts is, at best, awkwardly sweet and, at worst, fumbling and tone-deaf.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 20, 2011
    The Drowned In Sound critic who reviewed this album woke up in a very bad day. It's not great but certainly didn't deserve such a negativeThe Drowned In Sound critic who reviewed this album woke up in a very bad day. It's not great but certainly didn't deserve such a negative review. Every track flow perfectly, although it lacks some substance sometimes. But it's very pleasent to listen to. And "Wasted daylight" is cute! Full Review »