Blame it on global warming or the tap water. Blame it on health care or G-dubs. Whoever's at fault, Canada is simply kicking our ass these days when it comes to producing compelling indie rock acts. The latest from Montreal's Stars, Set Yourself on Fire, is a sophisticated collection that is equal parts poignant and quirky pop songs, the kind that make you nostalgic for overcast mornings in your lover's bed or the energetic Saturday nights that inspire beer commercials. Like many of the band's contemporaries, the reference point for much of the music and co-vocalist Amy Millan's ethereal singing on Fire is My Bloody Valentine's distorted textures. Meanwhile, Millan's counterpart, singer Torquil Campbell, clings to Morrissey's peculiar brand of speak-singing. But Stars transcends simply regurgitating its influences to make its most vibrant record to date. So, congratulations, Canada, yet again.
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