A 13-year hiatus after what I’m guessing was a single LP. Seems a bit odd, but The Shrouded Strangers do a good job pulling it off. Their hiatus included the band’s duo forming, recording under, and touring as two other bands. After forming in 1999 and dishing out their debut LP, Yes, We Are the Shrouded Strangers, the dynamic Harrisonburg, Virginia duo of Aaron Carlson and Mike Scutari have returned, now based out of Oakland, with Lost Forever.
The album features eccentric sunny pop hooks backed by forays into experimental pop a la Oneida. In fact, that reference took a moment to sink in, but when it did it just seemed to fit all too well. Take a gander at “Featherbed” and you’ll hear references to favorites off The Wedding or even the more recent “Thank Your Parents” trio of albums.
“Oilheart” is a catchy pop romp with a powerful strum-along melody and playful vocals (yet on the border of being grating). Others, like opener “Late Bloomer” and “Pyramid Points” keep things fairly instrumental, dreamy, and continue the experimental nature The Shrouded Strangers maintain throughout Lost Forever. These songs act as buffers and intermissions between the album’s fuller, heavier tracks.
Even “(Don’t Look At The) Pink Lightning” with its light psychedelic folk-pop intro delves off into the experimental realm. This builds into an anthemic sing-a-long with swirling guitar feedback before dropping into a near a capella conclusion. It’s downright brilliant! The same holds true for the insanely poppy “How The Dead Butter Their Bread”. And what makes it even better: the entire album is like this. It jumps around with almost manic-like fervor, yet maintains a shocking consistency.
Like Forever hits the street May 22.
Download: “(Don’t Stare At The) Pink Lightning” by The Shrouded Strangers
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1. Late Bloomer
3. Coat Check With A View Of The Coast
4. (Don’t Look At The) Pink Lightning
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