Essential New Music: Stars’ “There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light

“I don’t believe people ever change/But I change,” Torquil Campbell sings on There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light single “We Called It Love.” The reverse may be true: Aside from their debut, which came out before their permanent lineup coalesced, Stars have been reliably consistent. On their eighth album, the Canadians again marry earnest, heartfelt sentiments to glossy, sometimes danceable pop that builds on the lessons of New Order: propulsive sequencers, melody-forward bass lines, synergistic synths and guitars. Amy Millan (who, along with Stars’ Evan Cranley, still participates in Broken Social Scene) splits or shares the lead vocals with Campbell, Millan’s chipper, sweet soprano blending with Campbell’s conversational, understated tenor. There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light is not quite as perfect top-to-bottom as 2003’s Heart, nor as high energy as 2014’s No One Is Lost, but it’s still very good, and the Chvrches-like “Fluorescent Light,” the percolating “Losing To You” and the string-soaked “Wanderers” rank with Stars’ best.

—Steve Klinge