Strange Her has a way with writing solid indie rock songs with catchy and oftentimes memorable melodies and hooks. Songs like ďMatriarch of ManhattanĒ and ďThe Scarlet CordĒ often pop up in the back of my mind, and occasionally itís not even the lyrics, but the melody that comes up. The band takes minor musical cues from bands like Brand New, Valleyheart, and My Epic, with a little As Cities Burn for good measure. That being said, itíd be a stretch to call Strange Her a copycat of any of these bands; they just exist in the same vein and they do it well.
Just to be clear: if the only thing you know about Strange Her is of their involvement with the Jeremy Camp movie, you might not know what youíre getting into, because A Marginal Sea is very tonally, lyrically, and stylistically different than anything Camp has released. It isnít designed for AC radio stations, and the songs are actually pretty bleak. Strange Herís lyrics deal with the darker side of life: depression, anxiety, addiction, hopelessness, etc. While thereís not really any sense of hope or solution to any of these problems offered in these songs, such as the blood of Jesus (though the closing track, ďSpeaking of Alan,Ē does present a longing for rest in our eternal home), the band is also careful not to glorify any of them either. A lot of the songs seem very personal in this regard, but thereís also some allusion that still fits in the albumís context, like ďModest Drinker.Ē This song is sung from the perspective of a man lost to his addiction and bad choices, a man who is ďthe example, used to scare kids out of Hell, spread my name like a cancer, itíll mean more as a cautionary tale.Ē The chorus of the song is an all-too-relatable feeling for those losing the battle with sin: ďAnd Iím never gonna stop myself, Iím not in control and I never was, Iíll destroy us both before I ask your help, Iím nothing if not proud of the damage Iíve dealt.Ē In short, thematically, the album is rather dark, but itís an excellent example of the things that people, Christian or not, struggle with.
Strange Her isnít a newcomer in the music world, but they are slept on and under appreciated. A Marginal Sea is a strong album that could lead the band to bigger things. I wouldnít be surprised to see them sign to a label in the near future (like Tooth & Nail or Victory). Make sure to give them a listen, as the album is available now.- Review date: 8/10/19, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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