Stray
Letting Go


4.0
excellent

Review

by Acanthus USER (46 Reviews)
May 28th, 2012 | 12 replies | 2,025 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Building upon the foundation of its predecessor.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

After lying dormant for four years Erica Dunham and Stray return, though to initially mixed feelings. While the band's debut was a shockingly cold onslaught of beauty, its appeal was helped in part by just how different it was from her main project, Unter Null. Letting Go stays in the same vein as Abuse by Proxy, yet steps away from a lot of the little intricacies that made the debut so strangely beautiful, all the while claiming new ones as its own. The result is interesting, with Stray trying to maintain an identity while branching away from the sound that helped build its following.

As mentioned above Letting Go feels a bit simpler than its predecessor. Many of the sweeping synth lines and science fiction sounds have been cut out of this release, though the drum layering has improved significantly. Vocally the album is easier to understand upon first listen, with the flange, reverb, and background vocals pushed aside for a more straight forward, yet still beautiful, approach. However the lack of such layering opens up possibilities for other decidedly fun sounds, with the sounds of a (could it be!?!) sitar and other stringed instruments on “Low and Lower” being an obvious example of this new experimentation.

Another difference lies in the warm tone of the album, though the lyrics are almost as personal as before the album exudes a feeling of warmth and contentment, as if Ms. Dunham is finally at piece with both her life and musical direction. Even the drum work is indicative of this, again “Low and Lower” is the prime example with the melding of drum machine and strings coming off as a homage to Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet's Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. The tracks found within Letting Go are also longer than most found in Abuse by Proxy, allowing for more development as well as stylistic choices.

“31 and Falling” is a prime example of one of Ms. Dunham's changes in style, starting off with a building piano piece through a subtle haze of effect distortion. An echo effect follows the vocals, accompanying them as rising strings and a cymbal crash greet the listener. A more obvious beat enters, creating a Rob Dougan or Propellerheads style electronic backdrop to the piano and softly sung vocals. As the track reaches the three minute mark everything slows to a crawl, and as the vocals fade with the last cymbal crash one thinks the track is over... After a brief lull the beat kicks back in, the string and piano accompanying it this time around as Ms. Durham's vocals rise just enough to make the remainder of the track carry more weight than the beginning. While not seeming like much at first glance this change in style is something that the debut lacked, the inclusion of moments like these gives the album a distinct personality and direction.

Letting Go was initially disappointing, with nothing really calling out until the third track; luckily things change quickly from there. Here that the album truly starts to carve it's own niche, taking away previous elements of the bands sound while simultaneously expanding on others. The longer track length allows for more experimentation, and the warmer tone suits the more straightforward vocal approach perfectly. Stray might have initially captured you with its beauty, but it's here that Erica Dunham proves that she is much more than a one trick act.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
4
excellent
related reviews

Abuse by Proxy

Comments:Add a Comment 
Acanthus
May 28th 2012



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As promised, this one is a pretty high 4 due to more replay-ability.

Also comes in a 3 disc version filled with remixed goodies!

bloc
May 28th 2012



34774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I've only heard this once since it first came out. Gonna have to change that.

Good work my man.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2012



15912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've listened to it a lot. It's definitely a nice progression from the debut.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

bloc
May 28th 2012



34774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In terms of new EBM and similar stuff, I've kinda eased back this year. I'm not taking as many chances with listening to newer releases from artists I've never heard of or artists that I've never enjoyed as much.

I kinda feel sad about it, but it's like every time I actually do check out a new release it friggin' sucks.

Acanthus
May 28th 2012



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get that feeling a lot too, I've been branching out more into metal and other electronic based work myself.

Thanks for the comments and the pos guys!

unternull
June 2nd 2012



23 Comments


Thanks for the review. Well-written. Cheers, Erica.

Acanthus
June 3rd 2012



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're more than welcome, I enjoyed critiquing the album!

bloc
June 3rd 2012



34774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

She's back :O

Acanthus
June 3rd 2012



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, I assume she just checks occasionally to see if any of her work has come up in recent discussion.

Typhoner
October 12th 2012



839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard some stuff from both Stray albums, this seems much more interesting. Will be getting.

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

Acanthus
October 12th 2012



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely worth checking out any Erica Dunham material.

Typhoner
October 13th 2012



839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I really liked Moving On, but the earlier Unter Null stuff is less appealing to me.



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