Review Summary: London 4-piece drop an infectious, hook-heavy bit of guitar-punk that is heavy on the experimentation and honesty, and light on the pretension.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
It is strange really, to try and describe a record on the basis of personal value, how you connect to it, or really, the way it connects to you. Never mind along side the global possibility of music, and how a record can (or in some cases should
) attach itself to an obscenely large number of people. Both sides are utterly respectable aspects of music, but are generally quite bi-polar. Many not finding the balance between crafting something deeply personal, but also life affirming, or at the least, accessible. Not all great albums need to, but some of the best music you’ll find, in truth is a perfect mesh of the two, offering hit-that-rewind-button choruses with their journal entries and social musings. So, it would also be pretty safe to say that Songs About People I Know
is one of those records. The EP(ish) offering from the London-based quartet Stricken City is a brisk and brazen look at modern metro living through the eyes of one knockout of a talented lead singer, backed by her three schoolmates' C86-esque fuzzy bounce and her superb keyboard fills.
Vocalist/Korg-girl Rebekah Raa has described her fascination with people’s “characters” as a driving point behind Songs
, and it shows. She effortlessly delivers intricate diatribes of every-day life, but almost in as little words as possible. Effervescently floating just above her upbeat (or absolutely bat-*** crazy) backing instrumentation, she presents a wispy, understanding air about herself on record, a veil of experience with a slight hint of youthful naivety(it's alright/your right to question yourself/it's fine to be different.
) Which is perfect for just that specific mix of C86 and Hait-Ashbury they present through out Songs
less than thirty minute run-time. Iain Pettifer (Guitarist and resident band document-er) Mike Hyland (Bassist), and Kit Godfrey (Drummer) along with Raa find a perfect mix of the intricate and identifiable, a guitar pop band who does the utmost to push the confines of the genre. Between their keyboard flourishes, break neck guitar noodling, lush bouncy bass lines, multiple vocal tracks and cavernous tunnels of psychedelia it’s easy to see the constant tug of war they’re engaged in with ‘post-punk.’ Really though, what makes Songs About People I Know
such an engaging breeze of a listen, is just how easy it all comes and goes, much like the life at the center of the LP, it’s easy to settle into, but it will fly right on by. It rewards just as much in careful introspection as it does breezy party play, delivering a diverse album full of pop hooks and mounds of substance underneath just waiting to be discovered as the listens increase.
Its not that Songs About People I Know
is a carefully planned out collection of tracks under the shroud of a grand concept as much as keen observations, set to experimentally accessible guitar-pop; who’s honesty and ability to say so much with so little actually uttered lends the album a relatable feeling to go along with it’s strange personality. At the heart of it, that is what tips Songs
over that ‘good’ peak down into great-ville. When Raa expresses her distaste for an old friend on “P.S.” or her faith in another's limitless wasted potential on “Pull The House Down,” you can feel it pouring through the music, each note, each dialogued line, the band members working excellently in tandem (as they should!) Her coos of Our little fingers itched for terrible things
as she reminisces about being a foolish youth on the album closer are damn near heart-breaking in their sentimentality, proving skill beyond just the cleverly kitsch as well. Not to settle with the easy route either, Stricken City aim Songs
directly at the stars, with most of the tracks presenting a high-flying sound that could fit pretty easily blasting amongst your local 'hipper-than-thou' college station or pop radio. But amongst all the would-be pitfalls, and radio-pop inclinations one would try find here, none so much as flirt with the idea of going awry, each goofy synth and sugary groove finding power in the sheer honesty being projected with it. Nothing about Stricken City feels fake on Songs
. It could be the way they were inspired to write the music, vaguely literate anecdotes about real life experiences, sopping wet with hooks. Or it could just be that at the end of the day, when it all comes down to what you’re looking to do with your music, Stricken City have chosen to trust in the dedication/intelligence of their fans and give them a more than ample glimpse into their lives, personal, public and whatnot. Everything is on display here, and it’s gracefully beautiful.