Stranger Things is like the definition of Easy Listening. Each track is tuneful, light and some, like ‘Hearts in Motion’, even have great hooks. Sadly, in my opinion, there is little else to this album over all. Whilst I really enjoyed the Motion City Soundtrack style guitar on songs like ‘Hold Me Closer’, I found that for the most part I was only able to make out what was being said on the chorus of each song. Max Bloom’s voice gets lost in the never-ending fuzziness that creates the background to each track making it very difficult to get a sense of what emotions he is trying to convey.
I feel quite disappointed by this as the album by description is supposed to “reflect the refreshingly un-fraught state of affairs within the group”. In their seven years together the band has been through many changes and challenges yet they have come out of the other end feeling better than ever. I’m sure the situations that are created from these journeys make wonderfully intricate lyrics but I just can’t hear them.
That said, the title track, ‘Stranger Things’, has a great California punk sound to it making it the best song on the album. I found it to be very reminiscent of Descendents and the guitar riff on ‘Cannonball’ also had a very similar sound which reminded me heavily of ‘Silly Girl’. Unfortunately the rest of the tracks seem to meld together slightly and bar their choruses all sound very much the same. However, as I am not well versed in garage-pop I would highly recommend making up your own mind about this one, as unhelpful as that might seem.