Home? Review from That's Why We Musyc
Since it’s become a “thing,” people associate rock with swagger. In some form or another, having an essence of cool is almost as necessary as the ability to strum a power chord in the rock world. Over the years, what defines cool has become more complicated and subjective - at least in terms of aesthetics, anyway. A Starbucks-loving hipster in a cardigan is “in” now, but the leather-clad Ramones would be baffled that this is today’s peak male fashion. In terms of tone and delivery, though, you can’t fake or “look” cool. It’s just there, as The Living Strange demonstrate in their latest EP, Home?.
Throughout their sophomore EP, the rock duo offer a funky, trippy sound that’s very much their own and honors their band name. It’s oddball rock, with some quirky instrumental choices (see the far off, spacey guitar and synth intro in track three, “Losing It”), but the spirit of rock is still there: these guys definitely own their sound and exude confidence that can only come from true blue musicians.
A lot of the credit goes to frontman Elijah Sokolow. Amazingly, he handles vocals, guitar, bass and keys. His guitars are punchy and bring some attitude, the bass is subtle but effective, and his key work adds some ambiance that keeps things weird. Track two, “1000 Pretty Girls And 3 Ugly 1s,” is his most ambitious offering instrumentally, coming full force with an assaulting guitar riff and ambient groove. Of course, drummer Ben Shafrirdoes a fine job as well, backing each instrument up and holding everything in place (seriously, drummers deserve more credit).
There’s still time for more down to earth rock tones, too. Opening track “Stumble” is full of pure guitar swagger from the jump, and Sokolow keeps the bass tone nice and deep while Shafrir’s drums are very pronounced.
It’s not all about the instrumentals, though. There are relatable and anthemic lyrical pieces, too. When Sokolow shouts, “I want to exercise/My right to be alive” in “1000 Pretty Girls And 3 Ugly 1s,” you almost want to explore a city and drink a few shitty beers just because. When things get more reflective in “Losing It,” Sokolow evokes a feeling of being lost and a walking contradiction when he sings “I think I’m losing it/And I can’t find out where it’s found.” While we may not all want to admit it, most of us have certainly been there.
It’s what you’d expect from a musician: lyrics that are ambiguous enough to apply to just about anyone, but riddled with sentiments that are all too familiar. It keeps the duo interesting, mysterious, and relatable all at once - plus, lyrical content and unconventional instrumentals are two major items that draw people to rock music in the first place.
The Living Strange have no time for artsy, “above it all” rock that poses philosophical questions every verse and is polished. Instead, they’re keeping it real, playing what they feel like, and dishing out some authentic words along the way. Isn’t keeping things strange and completely your own the whole goal of being an artist, anyway?
Reviewed by: Brooke Daly