Spun: Stars

By Garth Paulson

The last few years have seen an interesting trend develop in indie rock: the remix album. Remixes are common territory for hip hop and dance music, but rock remixes are still largely in their first steps, complete with all the awkwardness and stumbles one would expect. The latest band to receive the remix treatment is Toronto’s Stars and their winsome, sometimes overly sentimental 2005 album, Set Yourself on Fire.

The resultant, Do you Trust your Friends?, is a confusing, unnecessary album full of track-by-track remixes by a bunch of artists who shouldn’t be making remixes. The album begins with Final Fantasy’s attempt at Fire standout “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.” The cut is a muddled affair that removes the propulsive elements of the original and replaces them with random violin scribbles. The rest of the album largely follows this example. The Most Serene Republic take the lush, wall-of-sound on “Ageless Beauty” and turn it into a sparse honky-tonk backdrop, but leave Amy Millan’s heavily filtered vocals intact. The Dears mercilessly chop up “What I’m Trying to Say” into two parts, neither of which have a point. The Russian Futurists turn the chic, metropolitan pop of “The First Five Times” into a stadium-ready, power chord-filled mess. The list goes on and on.

In the end, Do you Trust your Friends? is an interesting album, but not because it acts as a successful companion piece to its source material. No, Trust’s only real value is to remind listeners that sometimes it’s best not to trust their friends.

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