With Stars finishing off their Canada tour, I figured it would only be appropriate to write a piece in honour of them. However, I figured as far as Canadian indie music goes, Stars is just one iPod commercial away from being mainstream. So I figured everyone probably knows about them by now, right? So instead, here’s a piece on Torquil Campbell’s side project: Memphis. If you like Stars’ new stuff, I think you’ll love Memphis’ most recent album, A Little Place in the Wilderness. For me, this album would be the perfect selection for a rainy Sunday afternoon, where all you wanna do is go back to sleep and keep dreaming. But maybe that’s just me.
Every word on this album is imbued with raw and powerful emotion, softly and sincerely sung and spoken by Torquil Campbell. The album starts off with “I Dreamed We Fell Apart” (which is actually the title of their album prior to this one). This song sets up the rest of the album to have the feeling like you don’t know if you’re awake or still dreaming (like I said, great for rainy Sunday afternoons). Then it continues with “In The Cinema Alone” which is the first of three love songs in the album. Of these three love songs, my favorite has to be “I’ll Do Whatever You Want”, because of its dark lyrics which remind me of your typical evil Stars love song. But the most noteworthy might be “In The Highest Room” where Torquil gets his wife Moya to whisper a story about a couple who have been together for such a long time and help each other get through everything. It’s sad that my description of this song doesn’t do justice to the depth and meaningfulness of the lyrics. It might even be window into Torquil and Moya’s marriage?
Two other songs in this album worth mentioning are “Incredibly Drunk On Whiskey” and “A Ghost Story”. The first is probably the most light-hearted song of the album, whereas in contrast, the other is probably the most serious. I’m not sure what the whiskey song is about, but it’s possibly about being underaged and going to the megaplex to try to steal some alcohol (could be wrong). The second song is more obviously about a child being haunted by ghosts and then growing up to become a ghost to haunt other people. But I wonder if this could be a metaphor for something else?
Memphis is Chris Dumont (producer and guitars) and Torquil Campbell (words and voice), but includes contributions by long time friend James Shaw of Metric (mixer and bass). The album was released in August 2006 by the Good Fences Label. This album is a hard one to find on mininova, so if you like the sample offered below, I encourage you to get the album.