Stars have been making music just long enough to risk being a footnote. You know, reference material, the kind of thing you cite in an academic defense of some new, and presumably, better band. Their last album, The Five Ghosts, found Stars playing itself a bit. This is, of course, the grand risk of being first and being good: You one day find yourself playing yourself asking, "What would we do here?" and either railing against or falling mercilessly into this pit of self-parody. Imitation of self is the direct antecedent to artistic atrophy, a very cruel and very public version of your grandmother's advice about you continuing to make that face and your face staying that way. This raised the stakes and lengthened the odds for Stars coming release, The North. The first single, "The Theory of Relativity" risked everything contained in this paragraph, a titan of indie rock seemingly adrift, until the second taste of the record, "Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It" released this morning. It is full of bleeding hearts and Cure-style guitars and a lyric, "Take the weakest thing in you and beat the bastards with it" as close to both a great turn of phrase and marching orders as we get in 2012. Amy Milan shows up late to do a sort of Kate Bush turn in her upper register while Torquil Campbell outlines the architecture of a pro-love polemic below. It is all in the title, predictable in a sense but spacious and propulsive like all great pop music, buzzing against killer lines like, "if I'm frightened if I'm high, it's my weakness please forgive it." As for Stars, if their weakness was that they started to look too much like themselves, here they prepare to beat you with impunity.