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. Stars may be moving beyond songs like the soothing and dramatic opener "Dead Hearts," but it's not quite clear where they're going.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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]
  9. They know bombast and melodrama, which makes a decent amount of their latest effort, The Five Ghosts, all the more off-putting.
  10. 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 »