Scene and Heard – CCLXII : All of Us Are Strange – Strangely Alright (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

strangely-alright-12Although it is easy to see, and indeed hear, where Strangely Alright is coming from, the band does far more than the pedal past glories of their record collection, which I’m sure contains its fair share of Beatles, Kinks and Love albums. Instead they are what a band might sound like if  the psychedelic musical revolution had never happened in the mid sixties but instead was a modern phenomena. Yes, there is a lot of the hazy swirls and acid laced vibe of that original movement, when the mods and popsters united under the tune in, turn on, drop out ethic to become cosmic cowboys and hippy troubadours, but that is only half of the story.

They are also a thoroughly modern band, slicker musicians, weightier sounding thanks to a thread of rock guitar muscle that runs through the core of the song and defter songwriters than many from first time around and without doubt better produced. We live in a nostalgic world and Strangely Alright are the perfect band for the moment, seeped in the rose-tinted, grooviness of the past and certainly looking the part but with mass appeal across fans of all ages and generic inclinations.

But All of Us Are Strange also demonstrates something that was often missing first time around, a tight and together band. Whereas love, peace, and the lysergic led lifestyle often meant that those bands creative results ranged from the odd to the suspect to the outright baffling, here we have a band who can pen a perfect pop song first and only then dress it up in psychedelic trappings. Priorities!

Paisley pop meets psychedelic rock? A stoned mash-up between Barrett era Floyd and ELO? George Harrison jamming with The Flaming Lips before the cosmic vibes were replaced by the circus tricks? The references remind us that trippy-hippy pop has never gone out of fashion. Strangely Alright show us that, when it is done this well, it has never felt more like a breath of fresh, if slightly patchouli smelling, air.

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