Strangers - Weight reveiw
04 Nov 2007 // A review by trevf
Review by trevf
4.Time is waiting in the Street
7. With faces Like the Backs of Thumb Tacks
Action man records (AMR010).
STRANGERS release a full-length album which follows on from “holding”, a CD released as a taster earlier on in the year and the songs of which are included in this new collection.
So what’s the same?, those familiar with the sound will find no radical departures. This is not ‘easy listening’ and retains a very aggressive guitar/drums/howling vocals kind of aesthetic.
This can be off putting, but this is a band with real musical strength and intelligence. This whole album is paced very well. Opening tracks “expositions” and “meursalt blues” blend in to each other are over so quickly, that “you crawl” almost feels like the first song. Final song “overborn” is clearly the set-finisher, and rightly so.
Credit goes to the production/arrangements too, not in a “good choice of mic” kind of way, but the way that this band has taken time to hone the arrangements and taken care to recreate the power and clarity of the live sound. This means the drums sound full, guitars are dynamic and the vocals are clear (something that was not quite the case with the four-track CD). There is some time given to experimentation with “noma” where sampled voices take the place of vocals for quite a scary effect.
Difficult then, not to repeat oneself, except to say the sound remains musically “bold and idiosyncratic” and something this band deserves is credit for is the integrity of their sound. One can hear record company types going where’s the single?
That’s an irrelevant question though, This album is a logical and considered progression from the Holding CD, with first rate production, and a great deal of attention to the music-tight arrangements, intelligent pacing and judicious (but not overdone) experimentation. Definitely more than a fans-only experience.
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.
Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Strangers
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.