Hot on the tattered coattails of last year’s disappointingly patchy The Five Ghosts, Canadian indie entrepreneurs Stars have unearthed something from their past, presumably from beneath a pair of well gazed-upon shoes. No longer gathering dust in an attic, The Bedroom Demos are the beginnings of 2007’s fantastic In Our Bedroom After The War, complementing the original tracklist (save for the instrumental opening) with two previously unheard titles: the pretty, piano-led ‘Division (Monkees)’, which contrasts Amy Millan’s smooth vocals with angular synths, and the unexpectedly thrilling jolt of ‘The Worst Thing (Whitey Jam)’, an indie-folk rocker with ticklish guitar and energetic drumming, led by Torquil Campbell’s enthusiastic singing.
While both new-old songs should pique fans’ interest, the rest of the tracks are surprisingly close to their familiar finals, though all too often lacking in the album versions’ emotional thump. ‘Take Me To The Riot’ and ‘The Night Starts Here’ clearly benefitted from the layering and melodrama added to their final iterations, and ‘Bitches In Tokyo (Fuck U I Love You)’ simply sounds castrated. Less pronounced in terms of loss of power is the ‘Window Bird’ demo, where the driving bass still carries Millan’s honeyed vocals gleefully along. “Moments have their moments,” claims the label, but the occasion for these demos to pack their full punch has passed. A curio from more exciting times, they serve only to accentuate the missteps that Stars have taken in the interim.
[Arts & Crafts: June 7, 2011]