Is Anything Alright?
The Strange are, well, strangely normal at first glance. Four guys & two guitars, bass, and drums, words warbled or spat out frenetically over the foundation, and songs about sex, drugstores, and rocking chairs. And praying mantis women eating their mates for dinner. And two-timing praying mantis men asking for it. But don't start thinking this is crying-in-your-cups country music about geriatric insect life. It's more of an original rock, dance, funk thing that tends to appeal to dancers and listeners and dancing listeners or vice versa. 'Is anything alright?' That's the pregnant question posed by the title of the band's upcoming sophomore effort. It's pulled from the lyrics of 'Call Me Majestic,' a highly shakable track that bounces between images of childhood imagination and adult disillusionment. And it's the kind of question that, sonically speaking, The Strange strive to explore throughout the album, weighing the relative merits of acting out of love or lust in 'Ginger Grant,' pondering the value and frailty of human life in 'The Dumb Bug,' and sizing up the economic dictates of rural vs. Urban life in 'Me and Sheila Down on the Farm.' But in a fun way. The Strange are no stranger to the hook-catchy snatches of melody are sprinkled liberally throughout 'Is anything alright?,' in the hopes that if you're 'na na nahing' you'll later stop and think what you're 'na na nahing' about. The guys in the band - Adam Beck (drums), Paul Cantrell (rhythm/vocals), Clint Dillard (bass), and Seth Turner (lead) - have been playing together in one form or another for 15 years. And it's this kind of rock-solid camaraderie that they try to cultivate between each other, in their music, and with their fans. The hook, they hope, is the music, the words, the questions the songs pose. Think of the album as an elementary school 'I love you, do you love me, check yes or no' letter among grown ups. 'Is anything alright?' That's for each of us to decide. And to get anywhere at all, you've got to ask the questions.