Review Summary: A strictly awesome album made for strictly baller 90s emo fans
Wow, can you believe it? Strictly Ballroom were doing the whole post-rock/emo thing a whole three years (or 30 years in emo time) before The Appleseed Cast, and no one even batted as much as an eye. Yes, believe it or not, the forgotten pioneer of the mid 90s Strictly Ballroom's only studio effort Hide Here Forever
was merely a blip on the radar of an already small scene, and if more people had heard their work, Strictly Ballroom would likely have been heralded as pioneers in the genre.
Strictly Ballroom took their love for 90s emo, and Brian Eno's epic soundscapes and combined them to create a dynamic and emotional sound. A sound that was popularized by The Appleseed Cast and has had a resurgence in the revival emo scene, but unknowingly to most, was done first, and done extremely well by Strictly Ballroom. Hide Here Forever
employs the loud/quiet/loud dynamics of bands like Mineral and takes it to the next level with plenty of instrumental passages and much longer than average songs, which culminate in the epic 14 minute closer "A Sudden Interest In Nature." A couple of the songs are more garden variety Mineral worship though, like the wonderful "Something That Just Is," which manages to be an even better Mineral knockoff than The Appleseed Cast ever managed to pull off.
All in all, Hide Here Forever
is a gem amongst gems, with its ability to excel at playing very loud, very soft, and everything in between. Apart from the most well known bands of the era, 90s emo seems to be slowly drifting into obscurity, including Strictly Ballroom, and it's such a shame because Hide Here Forever
is one of the genre's strongest efforts, and far too strong of an album to have deserved being overlooked.