Review Summary: for those of us with attention spans and an ear for music Strawberry Girls’ “Italian Ghost” is worth a listen.
California has got a nack for producing some quality alternative rock music. From Young the Giant (Irvine) to Dance Gavin Dance (Sacramento) to The Rx Bandits (Seal Beach) today’s best alternative rock is haling from California. There must be something in the water (or perhaps something else) that is creating such solid tunes across such a variety of genres. Now a four- piece band from Salinas is carving a niche as a progressive instrumental band and definitely deserving some attention.
With barely any vocals this band can be a tough pill to swallow for some. Attention deficit seems so prevalent in popular culture that if a song isn’t under three minutes and repeats the chorus at least eight times it’s not accepted. All too often the first thing noticed by a listener to a new band is the vocals. With basically no singing at all Strawberry Girls makes us really appreciates the strong instruments. Rather than take a back seat to lyrics, the guitar, bass, synth, and drums take center stage and tell their own story. So for those of us with attention spans and an ear for music Strawberry Girls’ “Italian Ghost” is worth a listen.
From the first few moments of the album we get a sense of what this band is all about
: Grooves. And groove they do as guitarist Zachary Garren creates soaring riffs that carry listeners on a journey throughout the album. The band seems to let Garren lead the way as he noodles throughout every song with the band jamming along. The problem ironically is that at times, Garren’s shredding steals the show.
Drummer Ben Rossett is absolutely solid through every song but at times is forgotten behind Zack's loud guitar. Caleb Ellisson lays down great atmospheres and shines with the very Pink Floyd inspired ending to “South American Sun”. But other than the ending to the album his synth really just compliments the guitar and doesn't pop out.. Bassist Ian Jennings shows up big on “Been That Done There” but as is true of all bassists he is hard to hear if you're not seeking him out.
The other musicians are not bad by any means. Actually they are far from it. It just seems they were not given as much room to really shine and are almost left playing second fiddle to Garren’s guitar. This album is none the less a promising start by the band and features a few great moments. The lead riff of “Black Night/ Golden Circus” is so catchy and starts the album off great. The saxophone in “Welcome to the Woods” is a pleasant surprise and really deserving of more moments. But best of all the transitions between each song are seamless and really make the record feel like one big song.
There are defiantly strengths the band can build on. The talent is there it just needs a little more time to grow and with each subsequent release only better music can be expected. This is a band that is on to something and not too far from creating a masterpiece. Even though “Italian Ghost” has a few imperfections it is a fantastic start for this up and coming California band that is most definitely worth hearing.