I recently was reminded of a skit from the show Portlandia – Fred had been on a seemingly perfect trip with a dream date. He sighs and shakes his head. His friends are puzzled – “What do you mean, it looked amazing” they exclaim. “Everyone on the internet – they aren’t having as great of a time as you think they are” Fred explains. And Carrie chimes in “Yeah, they’re just cropping out the sadness”. It is a perfect summation of Facebook posts this time of year – perfect this, perfect that. And I’m sorry, that just doesn’t exist. The new EP from Tacoma, WA’s Strangely Alright brought this whole thing to mind.
They are a tight band playing straight forward glam rock ‘n roll, deeply indebted to the T. Rex and Bowie school of thought. No frills, no BS – they just hit you in the soul with real vibes. The band is a five piece – Regan Lane on vocals, Sean Van Dommelen on lead guitar & vocals, Ken Schaff on bass, Ray Hayden on keyboards & vox, and Jason Bair manning the drum kit. Each member stands out on the EP adding their own flair to the proceedings. The title track kicks off the EP on a strong note – a little acoustic jingle before a fuzztone riff kicks in. The song is an ode to anti-materialism (kind of). Anyway, that’s my take on it, and I dig it.
“It’s all just Stuff yea it ain’t enough / Without the love I can share / It’s all just Stuff”. Wave Goodbye has a sinister riff pulsating throughout its 5 minutes and tells a tale of deception & broken friendships. From a strictly glam standpoint, this hues the closest to the classic 70’s vibes that I enjoy so much. I’d like to hear this one live at some point. “You’re gonna get what you get / The universe don’t forget / Grab a hanky / So you can dry your eyes”. The EP closes with Don’t U Know – a harder edged song that is one of the strongest cuts here. Lyrically optimistic, musically sinister – it is a killer tune and a great way to close out the release. “My children tell me / That a change is gonna come / Hiding in the sunlight / Is the truth that we are one”. Probably my favorite lyric on the entire record.
Verdict: Leaves You Wanting More
For Fans of: Suede, T. Rex, David Bowie, Sweet, Sparks
- Building Bridges
- Wave Goodbye
- Information Game
- Whatcha Gonna Do?
- Don’t U Know?