Stars’ latest disc is Set Yourself on Fire. This disc, in the vein of Beulah, The Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, is one of the best CDs I have heard in a while. They do a little bit of everything including some songs of simple lyrics combined with layered vocals and instruments or songs that meanders a little, but feature introspective and angst-filled lyrics. Having both male and female vocals is something I always enjoy and their harmonies are as tight as can be. Strings and brass instruments pepper this album as well. It’s a great effort by the band and it has stood up to a lot of plays lately in my vehicle. Oh, also at the beginning of the first track a creepy voice intones, “When there is nothing else to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.” Very, very cool.
3.25 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale.
The self-titled debut by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a solid start for the band. CYHSY creates a slew of indie rock songs that are extremely hooky. There is a bit of a pop vibe here, though it’s wrapped up in their lead singer’s high-pitch warbling voice and layered guitars. Some of the songs blend together and their writing could be deeper and more varied. Overall, though it’s a solid debut and there are plenty of great high-energy songs to enjoy.
2.50 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale.