Shrouded Strangers (The) - Lost Forever (Music CD)

Release Date: 16 July 2012
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Returning to recording after numerous years away from studio work, the Shrouded Strangers' 2012 album was enjoyable if not deathless work, a variant on indie rock that showed little sign of slowing down. "Late Bloomer" starts the album on an easygoing but gently propulsive note, acoustic strum, piercing tremolo guitar, a steady drum stomp, and -- perhaps bemusingly -- rather distant, raspy vocals. "Featherbed" shifts to gently fuzzed-out shoegaze boogie in comparison, though, enjoyable if not really remarkable aside from a nicely scraggly solo, and from there the slight off-on feeling of Lost Forever makes its way forward, a mix of the precise and the slightly unstable. (Calling a song "How the Dead Butter Their Bread" could almost be asking for it, given the song's generally peppy whimsy in its first half -- though hearing it collapse away into an open-ended feedback wooze is another beast. Then there's "Black Tie White Atlas Shrugged," which might or might not be the only Ayn Rand/David Bowie referencing song if not necessarily tribute out there.) Sometimes the mix of extremes is within the same song: "(Don't Look at The) Pink Lightning" starts like a breezy enough acoustic-led singalong before twisting into a bright, exultant combination of drones and a much slower pace. The instrumental "Pyramid Points" does a good job at summing up the slightly blasted/slightly dreamy musical aesthetic of the band in two minutes, soft gaze-focused guitars shifting into a chiming melody. "Oilheart"'s glammish chug has high vocals even for this album, a kind of piercing cry, while the rougher stomp of "Drinking the Spider Silk" can and does turn on a dime into a slower sweet swoon at the end. ~ Ned Raggett
Release Date: 16 July 2012

1. Late Bloomer
2. Featherbed
3. Coatcheck with a View of the Coast
4. (Don't Look at The) Pink Lightning
5. Oilheart
6. Pyramid Points
7. Drinking the Spider Silk
8. How the Dead Butter Their Bread
9. Black Tie White Atlas Shrugged
10. Waltz into Silver
11. Days of Glass

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Catalogue No: IZNIZ005