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Kane Strang: Blue Cheese [Slipcase]

Track List

>Web, The
>Things Are Never Simple
>Full Moon, Hungry Sun
>Run Rings
>What's Wrong?
>Canyon Her River Carved, The
>It's Fine
>You Think
>She's Appealing
>Never Kissed a Blonde
>Scarlet King Magnolia

Album Notes

Kane Strang hails from Dunedin, New Zealand, so it's a given he'll get comparisons to the Flying Nun sound his hometown is famous for. It's true his debut album, Blue Cheese, has plenty of the scrappy guitar jangle, rambling tempos, and off-kilter melodic nature that bands like the Bats and the Chills exhibited. He doesn't stick to that well-known template all the time though, and thanks to the spacy synths, expansive arrangements, and Strang's glam-inflected vocals, the end result sounds as much like neo-psych bands like Deerhunter and MGMT as it does the Clean. It works very well almost all the time, with songs alternating between rumbling, strummy rambles like "Full Moon, Hungry Sun" and "Never Kissed a Blonde" and insistent, beat-driven midtempo tracks like "The Canyon Her River Carved" and "You Think" that have some pleasing guitar crunch. A few of the songs have a slick '80s sound and cascading guitar interplay calling to mind bands like the Church. "Things Are Never Simple" is the best example, and one of the best songs on the album, too. Another standout is the '50s pop-influenced ballad "It's Fine," where Strang messes around with the mix, playing tricks with echo and reverb while also showing a dramatic side that's a nice change from his cheerful demeanor on the rest of the songs. Throughout Blue Cheese, Strang does a great job of taking different strands of indie pop and rock, then weaving them into something that sounds happily familiar while still sounding just weird enough to catch the ear of even the most jaded heard-it-all-before listener. ~ Tim Sendra


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