Stars - “Are You With Me? (Last Gang Records / eOne): Released on Friday, this new single from Canadian indie rock veterans was not included on the group's acclaimed 2017 album, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light.
It remains up to the high standards of that release and is notable for the fact it is produced by Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene, Gord Downie). Drew has been a long-time friend (and, via Arts & Crafts, a labelmate) of the band dating back to the mid-00s, when BSS, Stars, and Metric helped rejuvenate Canadian rock while winning over audiences internationally.
In a label press release, Drew explains that "it was an honour to work with them finally.” In turn, the group noted that “It finally felt like the right moment to make music with someone who we consider family, and that person is Kevin Drew. To work on a song with him reminded us all of what a beautiful person and brave artist he is, and why someone like Gord Downie trusted him to interpret his last music."
Stars have always tackled themes of death, loss and love with real eloquence, and this sombre song is no exception. Torq Campbell's vocals are quietly haunting and complemented by gently swelling instrumentation over its 5.50 length.
According to the press release the song lyrics came about after Campbell "spent one liquidy night sending text messages to Gord Downie's old cell phone number. It’s very difficult not to miss that guy, and sometimes you just want to send a message into the ether and hope he receives it. We’ve always used songs to communicate with ghosts."
Drew explains that “my favourite Star songs are the graveyard tunes. They are exceptional at capturing the drama and reality of losing someone while trying to save them at the same time."
Stars begin a North American tour in Edmonton at Myer Horowitz on Nov. 26, closing out at Montreal's Corona Theatre on Dec, 16.
Publicity: Julie Booth, Freshly Pressed PR