Stars Algonquin – One Million Stars

8.3/10

Emerging from the woods and creating from Toronto, Stars Algonquin have delivered an EP, One Million Stars, that will take you across vast musical landscapes.

“One Million Stars” starts the EP with a sharp, square wave synthesizer riffing above a funky bass line, and a clean guitar arpeggio that immediately grabbed my attention thanks to the syncopation created by those colliding riffs. It’s a good analogy for the song that seems to constantly evolve through different parts, yet retain a solid, head-bobbing rhythm. The song’s danceable beat, acoustic guitar playing, and the generally optimistic pop vibe is like a collage of Arcade Fire and Bryan Adams. Near the ending of the song, it collapses with a blissfully ambient part showcasing beautiful reverbs, chimes, and some yodeling. The track returns to its pop power for the outro, ending a solid first song on an EP that already shows promise. The first track is followed by “Everything is Blue,” a song that totally sounds like something Stereophonics would have put out. Not to say they cloned a song, but the similarities in both, the vocal and musical textures, are striking. The chorus on this one is a winner too, ending on a melancholic last note before diving back to the verse. Beautifully layered harmonies, effects on the guitars and synthesizers, and expert production also draws a comparison to Beck’s smoother stuff combined with Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi’s Rome.

Synthesizers flood in, and a steady drum beat lays the foundation for a storytelling rock song called, “July 13,” that is launched with a breathy, “July 13, I was leaving shore…” sung above those classic ‘cowboy’ (open) chords. Playing at many open mics around Montréal has exposed me to a lot of Bruce Springsteen’s music, and this song feels like it could fit right into his set list. What this band does well is layer different melodies together; that shone through on this song’s bridge. The sporadic lead guitar notes and a xylophone complemented the song perfectly, and kept me engaged in the music. One Million Stars ends with “Any Day Now,” a tune that’s got a gospel sunset in Motown vibe: a blues structure played with a Hammond organ, a slide guitar, walking basslines, swinging drums, accompanied by twangy harmonized vocals singing about taking trains, not missing streetlights blinking, and about how “any day could be my leaving.” It was a great closer to this lush sounding EP, and, though, it may be a short record, that just means there’s more to come.

Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Danielle Kenedy

About Dave Tone 53 Articles
Lucky enough to be born into a musical family, Dave took piano lessons until he turned eleven and picked up a guitar. Having played in a bunch of musical projects in and around Gatineau, he moved to Montreal to pursue a life in music. He enjoys busking in the Montreal subway, singing songs by Sam Roberts, QotSA, Beck, Mutemath, Kasabian, Big Sugar and les Colocs, among others. His band, Diamond Tree, has released an EP, and plays in and around Montreal. Dave has traveled to British Columbia, France, the United States, Cuba, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa. His favorite sport is Air Hockey and yes, he'll have another beer, thank you.

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