Two weeks. Ample alcohol. No inhibitions. No room for staleness. This is the mentality that StrangeJuice went into the recording process with for their album, Raising Cannibals, out May 10th.
The result has a heaviness to it. Experimentation plays against rock’n’roll familiarity. There are touches of 80s synths, growled lyrics, and electric guitar rock. Fourteen tracks amounts to one a day: a parallel to the ten albums that the band has released over a decade.
The massive output takes nothing away from their skill, and instead lends nuance that comes from practice. “Hey You” is quick. The synths hop, the vocals are modified, and the lyrics paint a picture of living on the edge of danger. “I only date widows but I know the risk,” plays against the waiting-for-a-flood chorus. But StrangeJuice aren’t a band to stay on one level for long, and the record breaks open just before the midpoint with lighter tracks. “Put the Television On” showcases the band’s strength for observational lyrics but sets the story in the past. There is nostalgia for another time, but also the ability to see that media allows for obliviousness.
But the record shines when StrangeJuice surprise with sweetness. “Diet Pills” has hints of romance that bring a sense of the unified. The effected mixing adds to a sense of spaciousness that fills a room. A psychedelic nod returns on the catchy “After Party”. “Home Shopping”, the lead single, plays on the rough side of sweet with jittery, sugary synths, vocals mixed into the future, and a heavier guitar line. “Horse’s Eyes” draws on the resonance of the piano. Slow and harmonized vocals dive soulful to close the record.
It’s great to see a band playing with the confines and expectations of the recording process, and even more special to see the results amount to a unified whole. With experimental juts and ridges, StrangeJuice are toeing a line of accessibility, but they land on the side of exciting.