Stars: No One Is Lost (ATO) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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No One Is Lost


Nov 05, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Pop music, almost by definition, is watered down. Music for the masses means accessibility is king, marked by obvious on-ramps, broad-based topics, and a sunny-side-up disposition. Pop music as escapism. Of course, this is less about set-in-stone rules and more about this reviewer’s half century-long observance of Top 40 radio fare.

Stars, by self-definition, make pop music. The Canadian ensemble ignited year-end lists with their breakthrough Set Yourself on Fire (2004), and has moved on to celebrated veteran status ever since, all with an absolute pop approach. No One Is Lost, the band’s disco-tinged seventh studio LP, follows suit.

The difference here is substance, pop music as an entry to bigger questions. On No One Is Lost, Stars aims squarely for the existential questions and universal struggles shared by all of us. Instead of escaping for three and a half minutes, Torquil Campbell and Amy Milan take turns addressing, to the best of their ability, the tension created by such beauty and ashes around us.

The real triumph of No One Is Lost is how Stars seems to carry such substance while on roller skates. “From the Night,” the band’s finest single in years, leads the procession with a forget-it-all refrain: “Let’s be young/Let’s pretend that we never will die/Let’s imagine that no one is lost/It’s not easy, but we’ve got to try.”

“What Is To Be Done?” abandons the four-on-the-floor approach for a modern mid-tempo number that asks the bigger questions even while recognizing human limitations. “Since the love letter’s lost/Since we all lose our voice/Since it all has to end/There’s nothing I can do about that.” The thunderous build is lightened by a gorgeous string subset as Campbell and Milan dance amid the tension. It’s the album’s centerpiece and best shows off Stars’ aim on No One Is Lost.

The title track sums it all up perfectly. “Put your hands up, ‘cause everybody dies.” Some things are inevitable. Death is universal. We can’t escape it; we can embrace it. Stars has given us the soundtrack to do just that. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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