Verdict: Blissful winter warmer
Canadian indie troupe Stars are tighter than ever on their fifth release. The title stems from the life-changing experiences the band members have been through since their last album in 2007 - births, deaths, break-ups - which make this collection emotional as always, but this time its heavy themes are given a shock of new energy and bounced about on a bed of electronic fun.
Amy Millan's treacle-sweet voice trickles through major chords against a pop beat in first single Fixed; meanwhile in We Don't Want Your Body, Torquil Campbell leads the band in an organ-accompanied dance-off. Later the album billows through softly patted piano keys, chimes and haunting cathedral-choirs - like He Dreams He's Awake, which is the first track the band wrote together - before moving into deadpan electro again. It's certainly a lot to keep your tastebuds amused - without getting confused, as the transitions are seamless.
Millan attributes this album's unity to having all five musicians - Campbell, Millan, Evan Cranley, Patty McGee and Chris Seligman - writing and nutting out songs together. It was produced by Tom McFall, who produced their 2005 release Set Yourself on Fire, a collection brimming with soaring anthems.
From ethereal musings to pulsing optimism The Five Ghosts is a tightly packaged box of treats that will keep you going for a long time.By Jacqueline Smith Email Jacqueline