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Album Review: Strangely Alright – Stuff

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.

You can pick up the album here and follow the band on Facebook.  The new EP is a great release and I’m looking forward to catching them live soon. Highly recommended.

Verdict: Leaves You Wanting More

For Fans of: Suede, T. Rex, David Bowie, Sweet, Sparks

Tracks:

  1. Stuff
  2. Building Bridges
  3. Wave Goodbye
  4. Information Game
  5. Whatcha Gonna Do?
  6. Don’t U Know?

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