“Strange Land” starts like a lot of albums these days: some Vampire Weekend, some nice and generous, explosive instrumental sections thrown in (just like Port O’Brien or Broken Social Scene) and you’d think that this will be it but Yellow Ostrich aka Alex Schaaf and friends (Jon Natchez and Michael Tapper) takes it slow and song by song manages to build up to one of the most colourful albums of recent weeks.
This is where you start but this is only the beginning.
The Lo-Fi quality of the instruments works very well with Schaafers Britpop-voice (and I don’t mean that in a negative way) and the thrown in orchestral parts result in gloriously messy pieces like “Daughter” that – still – are not even close to describe the bands sound which shows when you head over to the next song “Marathon Runner” that is a lot darker and also quite Rock’n Roll.
You get the whole catalogue of experimental pop here, loops and lo-fi, orchestral and the overall atmosphere of a live show packed in the smallest room possible and also the patience to take a song somewhere else midway through.
And at some point, it goes all rogue and turns into songs like “I want yr love” that sound as if Thom Yorke has decided not being so depressive anymore. That song actually is one of my favourites for using the repeated line “I want your love” as a steady anchor to hold up against the eclectic throw-ins of horn sections, percussion and vocals. I like a song that manages chaos and balance at the same time.
It’s dramatic and haunting and – according to the website – tackles the expectations you have for your life and the realization that they might never happen, so nothing for a Disney soundtrack here.
So this is – as you can hear – a very basic version,
And head over to bandcamp, you can get a whole EP for free there.