Saturday, June 15, 2013

REVIEW: Strangers Family Band - Strangers Family Band

Strangers Family Band is a LA-based four-man band playing heavy psychedelic rock. Brothers Ric (vocals, guitar) and Scott Seltzer (bass), and Juan Londono (drums) and John Randono (keyboards) have delivered a debut that is remarkably psychedelic and heavy, with Londono's drums and Scott Seltzer's bass setting a strong underpinning for Ric's guitars and Randono's keyboards, a combination that sort of swings back and forth between Crazy Horse and Pink Floyd at times. 

The first track is "Year Time", and it starts out at a measured, easygoing pace, and pretty much stays in that groove while the guitars slowly ascend to a full roar. The second song, "Starship to the Sun", is another slow one with a few chord changes that remind me of Neil Young's "Winterlong". 

A repeating theme in their songs is trips, which can take the form of substance trips (“Mary Jane”) or astral travelling (“Starship To The Sun”). Here's the third track, "Elle S. Dee":

Speaking on this, Ric Seltzer says “a lot of the lyrics start as improvisations while we are jamming on the songs.  Among them are references to extraterrestrial theory and research, which is a passion of mine as well as drug imagery.  After the album was written I began to realize that I was subconsciously writing about the journey Scott and I took in moving from our suburban home in Florida to the big town of Los Angeles and finding our way in the world.”

"Mary Jane" picks up the pace, and "Cosmic Wine" is an over 8:00 full-on psychedelic jam. Here's "Cosmic Wine":

Thought it's all psychedelic, there's some variety of approach here - "Moonberry Jelly Jam", for example, has a sprightly pace and some affected vocals that show a spirit of playfulness. And the closer, "Jenny 3003" is the heaviest track on the record, with the type of guitar flights you'd expect in a number that runs 12:36.

This album is their first for Xemu Records and was produced by Dead Meadow bassist (and Xemu Records co-owner) Steven Kille and Dave Schiffman (Mars Volta, Airbourne). They're also quite proud of, and Randono shows a real masterful touch with, an extensive collection of recording and production equipment -- analog synths, Korg MS-10 and Echoplex tape delay unit. It's all used to great effect on an album that is, after all, a fun, coast to coast psychedelic romp. Strangers Family Band is out this week (June 11).

Strangers Family Band
Xemu Records

1 comment:

William said...

This album is a party! Stangers Family gets it right.