Hello Stranger, Hello Stranger

Hello Stranger, Hello Stranger

I missed Hello Stranger when they played here almost a year ago; I will not miss them again. This is a great pop record, and I’m sure they’ll have some new offering by the time they tour again.

“Take It to the Maxx” is all feel-good, Studio 54 disco-pop but done with style and finesse. Not too many guitars, not too many synths, not too little or too much of any one thing, but a perfect combination of just the right instruments. It’s all dressed up in a polyester suit with a wide collar, yet this is some not tongue-in-cheek/ironic twist. This record has both futuristic and nostalgic feels to it and is executed perfectly (refer to album’s H.G. Wells-ish illustration).

This is helped, of course, by Juliette Commagere’s vocals, which are rich, warm, and versatile — her voice is somewhat reminiscent of the Cardigans’ Nina Persson, but only in the sense of owning the songs she sings. Sweet and gentle (when required), swift and serious (in just the right doses); all are applied with a gracefulness much looked-over by this band’s contemporaries.

Thematic as this record is, it does veer off at just the right moments. Songs like “Kubrick Eyes,” “Let It Ride,” and “We Used to Talk” are together a different story of orchestration and presentation from the rest of the album. Gone are the flashing floor lights and mirror balls and out come the acoustic guitars and a more introspective tone. Yet Hello Stranger doesn’t lose sight of this “feel” of this record. Every song has strong melodies and plenty of surprises to keep you on your toes. I hear something a little different with each listen. Encore.

(Aeronaut Records -- P.O. Box 361432, Los Angeles, CA. 90036; http://aeronautrecords.com/; Hello Stranger -- http://www.totallyvagenius.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, May 12th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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