Reviews for "Strangers in Pictures"
I vividly remember the Indie Obsessive Blog writing “another instrument-authentic rock grenade has been lobbed over the Indie wall by LA’s trio Raised on TV” after the Souls on Fire single of 2019. Despite being addled by age I have a wonderful memory and rumors that a “JanglePopHub book of future plagiarism” exists are caustic lies.
Thankfully, I now get to use the sentence with this third Strangers Than Pictures album by the Californian of Raised On TV, providing tracks such as The Race, The Fire, and Losing My Mind, which flirt to varying degrees with mixtures of psyche rock and intense Ducks Ltd/Beef/Holy Tunics sounds that drive straight through the core of the best of modern day jangly indie-rock.
Of course, it is the subtleties of this act that have traditionally excelled, and this release is certainly no exception. Always full of a languid sense of sun-kissed, Around The Sun, the title track, Mr. Blue, and Break Me Free offer their trademark juxtaposition of slightly ethereal, spectral surf-rock that just about wins the fight for recognition amid the intermittent crunchy guitar riffs that seem to want to break the act free from any sense of saccharine.
However, the very best of the release moves towards the most lethargic of slacker-pop tendencies, with Between Highs and Lows, Wasted, and Kids offering the resplendent jangled riffs and washed-out submerged vocals that are so reminiscent of the Charlie Duda aesthetic and its propensity to drip with lazy sunshine.
An act that should never be far away from your musical considerations when it comes to ‘those beer in the garden’ moments!
The latest album, Strangers In Pictures from Raised On TV, is a very calm and relaxing listen. It has some great moments, but there is nothing that remarkable about the album.
Many tracks, like “Strangers In Pictures”, have breezy surf-rock-inspired guitars that make you instantly think of summer or the beach. The explosive riff from “The Race” and the distorted and frantic riff from “Between Highs And Lows” are two of the best from the album. If indie pop rock is a genre you love, all three songs should be on your playlist as each one has incredibly groovy hooks.
“Losing My Mind” is my favorite track from the album. It is short, fast-paced, energetic, and has a fantastic guitar solo.
Unfortunately, the album plays it a bit too safe with its vocals and instrumentation. There is not much variety. The vocals seem to have the same dreamy reverb effect on every track. It is very interesting at the start of the album with “Around The Sun”, but it soon gets repetitive. Similar things can be said about the instrumentation. Nothing sets it apart from other bands in the genre, nor is there any track as memorable as some of their older tracks like “Caroline” or “Helium”.
Strangers In Pictures might not be the best indie pop rock album, but it is far from the worse.
Well, this is quite a departure for Sell the Heart Records! The label is mainly known for releasing records from punk, pop punk, and emo bands. But this release is deeply in the indie rock and indie pop camp. From the opening track to the last, the music is almost entirely bright and bubbly with a bit of dreaminess through ambient synths, reverb, and floating backing vocals. Listen to the guitars jangle like crazy on the first song, “Around the Sun.” This is really gorgeous stuff. Check out the bouncy pop goodness of “Losing my Mind,” the closest Raised on TV gets to pop punk in this LP. “Mr. Blue” is another energetic track with chipper instrumentals, but it has contrasting melancholy lyrics, making it a favorite. Not every track is all light and bright, though. The dark guitar riffs on “The Race” and the desperate insistent feel of the song make it a real standout. “Between the Highs and Lows” is downright solemn, its big guitar riff sounding lonely in its stark declaration. And I love the relaxed introspective feel of “Wasted.” Probably my favorite track is “Break Me Free,” the penultimate track, which mixes mournful sounds with vivacious rhythms. While Raised on TV isn’t the normal fare for Sell the Heart Records, I do recommend you check this out, because it’s really pretty stuff.