Innovation seems a fairly distant concept in heavy music as of late. Hardcore punk certainly is a beaten track, and it would seem that re-creation of the ‘glory years’ or just following the rest is the norm. Perhaps it’s the attempt that matters. Perhaps we have all simply heard so much music that the basis for what’s heavy or affective is constantly slimming. One thing that can be said of STRANGERS is that they are still trying.
Whether or not they will achieve this with their first full-length, Weight, is for the listener to decide. The record certainly builds on the aggressive and confrontational style hinted at in the 4-song demo “Holding” (which sold out completely in weeks). But Weight is also an album of maturity and progression that expands from the simple scope of pure aggression. Juxtaposing the speed and passion of d-beat influenced tracks like “Meursault Blues” and “Holding” is a real sensitivity to texture and dynamic, exemplified in a range of ways – from the midpaced and depressive plod of “You Crawl” to the unshackled and ephemeral fury of tracks like “With Faces” and “Expositions”; all of which show a desire to strip back to the basics of the rock genre.
All in all, maybe punk rock has had its day for shocking the listener, and the future is one of reshaping the past into new forms. While no band can claim to rise above their own musical influences, STRANGERS certainly aim to keep pushing that envelope into new and unsettling areas.