I like the way Stranger Country’s new release starts out; nice, gentle and mellow. Upon first playing this album, I had to keep telling myself that I had in reality, selected the eponymous release and pressed play. A slow methodic drumbeat gradually becomes noticeable after a spell as it pined away for the recording’s volume to gradually graduate into a reasonably audible level. Once noticed, I had flashbacks (yea~ free trip!) to the times I’ve listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd while off somewhere in some orbit. Then, when the vocals come on, an undeniable reminder of the Alan Parsons Project, Tangerine Dream, Nektar; the more avant-garde of the prog rock movement of the seventies. By definition and pure natural instinct on my part, these invocations are fine with me. I am not saying that this is on the level of Shine On… but their correlation of method does strike me each time I put on Stranger Country. In that regard, it gets them out of the gate, especially because they can pull it off without looking satirical or ridiculous. They can for the most part. What I need to tell you man, this thing is mellll-ohhhhhh, grab the Quaaludes.
Again, the ability is so necessary for a band like this, creating this type of music, in this genre. If ability is absent, laughs and ridicule ensue, naturally. If not laughter, the only other option is attempting to manage the pain of sympathetic cringing over being exposed to untalented over-reaching wannabe sonic rubbish. Luckily, Stranger Country can do this shit; create these Tangerine Dream-esqe sonic-spheres that they do here. Now, Tangerine Dream is more than an accomplished band and time has proven their rightful place among the list of greats. Time can only show if these guys can. We’ll see.
So, to analyze each of the songs is kind of a difficult on taking. I found that each of the tunes could easily blend into each other. Making this an obvious possibility is the tempo of percussion. From No One Else, the first number, into the second, Colours, there is hardly a change in beat. As the channelling of songs continues, the only thing that would really inform the listener that one tune is different from another is if they are monitoring the playlist as the time counts up and down.
There are unquestionable breaks denoting at times, but then, there’s undeniable breaks within some songs. After a few listens, I began to give Stranger Country a break. If no definitive break is desired, no definitive break is the way it is. You’re not going anywhere, though; the album doesn’t drift too far from the initial sounds birthed at the album’s beginning. Mellow is the theme of the “day” and mellow is what you’re going to experience. Don’t expect too much else. To really place what this trip is “literally” all about is next to impossible. There are vocals, yes. There are words or lyrics, yes. What the majority are, beats the fuck out of me. More prevalent, or so it seems, are simply noises that the larynx of the vocalist utters; oooos, ahhhhhhs, groans. That kind of shit.
All in all, not bad. Not bad at all. Definitely a departure from traditional in your face metal, Stranger Country establishes their rightful due to explore those spaced out sonic landscapes made famous by the seventies prog rockers. It doesn’t suck. As in binary, this genre requires an initial judgment of competency. Either it is or it isn’t. This one is.
Scribed by: Brian Burroughs