The North - Stars
  • Band Name: Stars
  • Record Label: ATO
  • Release Date: Sep 4, 2012
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Sep 24, 2012
    85
    This is an album that proves that Stars are fully themselves, confident in their genre experimentation and fearless in the emotions they express.
  2. Maintaining the melodramatic indie that Stars do so beautifully, The North manages to channel every aspect of the indie rock spectrum, whilst creating a body of art that is perfectly coherent.
  3. Nov 5, 2012
    80
    Even if you weren't a fan of their last couple [of albums], there's definitely going to be something for you here. As soon as the synth kicks in for opener 'The Theory Of Relativity', you know you're in for a treat.
  4. 80
    Punchier production and more energetic songwriting point The North in the right direction. [Oct 2012, p.92]
  5. Sep 4, 2012
    80
    What is easy to figure out is that they are still operating at top capacity and anyone looking for smart, emotional pop that sounds almost perfect can turn to Stars for all their needs.
  6. Sep 4, 2012
    80
    This batch of 80s-pop-inspired tunes is packed with earworms and remarkably filler-free.
  7. While this record may not quite reach the highs of Set Yourself On Fire or even Heart for that matter, it's still a hell of an album that clearly and succinctly makes the case for the band's continued relevancy in an over-stuffed pop marketplace.
  8. Sep 4, 2012
    75
    On The North, Stars have evolved to match changing times and perspectives, and done so organically.
  9. Nov 1, 2012
    70
    A set that is rich with a sense of storytelling, sentiment and atmosphere, warm beneath its songs' occasionally chilly edges.
  10. Oct 26, 2012
    70
    They have produced a cohesive work that marries gauzy dreampop with more robust indie-rock. [Dec 2012, p.77]
  11. Sep 6, 2012
    70
    Both Campbell and Millan shine on their own, but the album's stronger tracks happen when these two team up together.
  12. 70
    Their sixth album comes as a breath of fresh air after the dreary synthetics and spectral meditations of The Five Ghosts, opting once more to focus on the need to love passionately, messily, and dramatically, this time in the face of middle-aged stability rather than the reckless abandon of one's 20s.
  13. Sep 4, 2012
    70
    The North isn't Stars burning their brightest, but they're a long ways away from flickering out.
  14. Oct 9, 2012
    67
    Stars looks to its whimsical past but thumps it with electronic glitch, a most successful combo of two straddled aesthetics.
  15. Sep 4, 2012
    67
    It unspools pleasantly and unhurriedly, possessing the sort of sparkly glow that often comes with rejuvenation.
  16. Sep 4, 2012
    65
    Ultimately, it's the strength of their convictions that elevates the autumnal musing of The North from mere electro-pop fancy to emotionally affecting tales of love, death, and everything in between. [Aug/Sep 3012, p.113]
  17. Dec 11, 2012
    60
    Fans of Prefab Sprout, The Go-Betweens and Saint Etienne could do a lot worse than give their cerebral Canadian counterparts a go. [Jan 2013, p.110]
  18. Oct 4, 2012
    60
    Though not everything in the limper, bloatier back half hits the mark, they're mostly aiming in the right direction. [No.91 p.59]
  19. 60
    The North continues to show off their skill and while nothing earth-shattering will be found here, it's something to fully bask in.
  20. Sep 12, 2012
    60
    On The North, the band does much better [than on previous album, The Five Ghosts] at forcing its concerns through the filter of big emotion, yet it's still plagued by some of the same tasteful understatement.
  21. Sep 4, 2012
    50
    The North's ultimate undoing isn't that it exudes so much schmaltziness, but that it sounds awkwardly and almost unconsciously dated, similar to the most recent offerings from indie-pop rockers Minus the Bear and Cold War.
  22. Dec 17, 2012
    40
    The North feels like a shuffle back into soft focus. [Jan 2013, p.98]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 24, 2012
    8
    Stars are a very talented group of musicians and they prove it again this time. A variety of indie rock songs and they've all got very good lyrics. The first half isn't as entertaining as the 2nd one and all in all it was somehow too stained. Anways, this is a album you have to hear because it's just so chilling, whether the song is happy or sad. They can do better, but this is definitely one of their best releases yet. Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2012
    9
    Some songs have very strong influences coming through - New Order specifically at times, for instance, but all in all, another solid effort. Not as emotionally fierce as "Set Yourself on Fire" or as strongly themed as "The Five Ghosts," but the album has enough variety, sweeping instrument sounds, and poignant moments to please Stars fans recent or long-standing. Full Review »