Although happy to admit references to ’80s and ’90’s dream-pop sounds and electronic scenes, Something Stranger is nothing if not music for the here and now. It is easy to find past sounds threaded through the music, a sort of gentle motorik hypnotism powers much of the music and, songs such as The Storm could certainly have existed at that point where the pioneering Blitz Kids fell into line to become the more mainstream New Romantic sound. But for every nod to the past, there is more to be found here that echoes with today’s underground and alternative zeitgeist.
The title track runs on an early 80’s bubbling beat and familiar groove but it is cocooned in futuristic washes and cutting edge sonics making for the perfect playoff between nostalgia and exploration. But for me, it is Lazy Day which is the star of the show, a more intimate and reflective track that wanders between sparse lulls and lush and expansive, wide-screen sonic upswells.
This debut release from Milan’s Bear of Bombay is more a collection of singles than anything else, but given that the two tracks that are seeing the light of day for the first time, Lazy Day and Follow You, are as cool and competent as the songs that surround them, it is best not to think of the Bear’s music in such terms. It is gorgeous, innovative and life-enriching, and that is all you need to know.