Heart (Arts and Crafts)
By: Alex Steininger
Stars' second full-length, Heart, continues on the path of textural, slumbering pop, providing the listener with a made-up soundtrack, the soundtrack to the movie going on in your mind while you absorb the pretty, tingling sounds.
The female-male vocal trade off of "Elevator Love Letter" is the song you wake up to, realizing you're in love, while your heat beats furiously. You jump out of bed, put on your clothes, and run out in the rain to profess your love.
Later in the movie, you feel your lover slipping away. With the feeling of loss, "The Woods" comes in. The two voices sweetly meld, while the chamber pop backdrop helps you remember the good times, as you long for the love you feel you're losing. With strings pulling at your heartstring, and the gentleness of the song making you weep, the beauty of day turns into the darkness of night as you shiver in the cold and hope for things to be the way they used to.
"Death to Death" is the song that plays while you plot revenge, its indie-rock-meets-electronica feel the perfect song to harness the darkness inside you, all while rejuvenating you with a charged-up, electric spark to get you out and on the go.
"Romantic Comedy" is the tongue-in-cheek song that plays when you realize how you miss each other, when you both decide somehow, somewhere you're going to get back together, its slightly bouncy, shiny pop finish the bounce that both of you need.
The album ends with "Don't Be Afraid to Sing", and so does the movie. The slightly joyous, slightly mournful tones of the song nods at the struggles you've faced, but suggests better times to come. With raindrop-like guitars, sleepy vocals, and reserved rhythms, fleshed out with light strings, the credits begin to roll as a smile crosses your face.
Hearts is warm, it is hooky, it is mellow, and it is beautiful. An uplifting record with enough spirit and hooks to keep you going, but not overdone or overblown to the point of wearing thin. The album plays perfectly, the songs holding their own separately, but sounding like a near-masterpiece together. I'll give it an A.