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Record Review 

Possibly named after singer/songwriter Carlos Forster, or perhaps named after the ephemeral San Francisco group's perfect audience, For Stars play lush, somber songs of yearning that would be sickening if they weren't so disarmingly sweet and honest. Like fellow San Franciscans Mark Kozelek (of Red House Painters) and touring partner Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club fame), For Stars craft quivering, introspective songs. The music is hazy, hauntingly full of sounds that hum as they envelop an entire room yet speak intimately to everyone in it.

While For Stars always have laid down wistful, wandering tracks, with We Are All Beautiful People they now pick up a sometimes sulking, sometimes skittering pace. Snares cut through a dense, moonlight fog. Forster's falsetto wavers close to cracking as he resigns himself to melancholy without giving up hope. Melodies that refuse to hold their ground scuttle underneath the rhythm, as layers of synths, vibraphones, xylophones and other assorted accents escalate. The tone even approaches joy on album highlights such as "Wires," "How It Goes" and "If I Could." While on two former releases, For Stars seemed to only passively pine over the prize, now they also actively pursue the goal, romanticizing the chase.

The tender, warm wash of We Are All Beautiful People -- a disorienting warmth like dozing while sun bathing, then waking, blinking and well baked, with a start -- will leave you seeing stars.

For Stars play the Echo Lounge Fri., July 6.

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