Back on familiar turf following the successful children's album The Story of Harmelodia, Night of the Shooting Stars finds Rheostatics back in the land of more complex rock and pop tunes. In a lot of ways, the album is a more straightforward effort than ever before, a fact that may have a lot to do with the production -- this time partly handled by roadie and fellow musician Alan Piggins and partly done by Ian Blurton (Blurtonia, Change of Heart), Toronto's reigning King of Rock. The loud rock influence certainly comes through in songs like the opening track, "The Reward," and "Satan Is the Whistler," which sports a death metal interlude and is louder than anything the band has committed to tape since "Rock Death America." All three of the original Rheos contribute material to this album. Tim Vesely's strongest is "Superdifficult," though the slightly too long "We Went West" is still a nice road trip across Canada. Guitarist Dave Bidini is less in evidence here than on previous albums, but turns in the album's best number in "Mumbletypeg." As usual, you can always count on Martin Tielli to up the weirdness factor a notch -- only he could get away with a line like, "I chipped my eyetooth on the back of a urinal," in the chorus of a song -- but he also contributes the album's first single, "P.I.N.," one of his most conventional songs ever. The album also features reworkings of two previously released songs: "Junction Foil Ball" previously appeared on the curious Nightlines Sessions and "Song of the Garden" is a revved-up rock version of the album-closer from The Story of Harmelodia. The album also marks another turning point for the band: following the recording, drummer Don Kerr decided to focus his energies on his Ron Sexsmith gig and the day-to-day operation of the Gas Station recording studio.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Carruthers