Reviewed by Meghan Player
Every so often, a band comes along that grabs your attention from the get-go. Strangers are one of those bands. After causing a stir within the local music scene over the last 18 months, the Sydney 5-piece are set to unleash their debut album, Persona Non Grata on the masses. And thankfully, you will not be disappointed.
Launching into opener, ‘Red Brick‘ – the album explodes from the beginning with a pounding bass/drum combo that ensures the noise is ‘well and truly bought’ by the time frontman Ben Britton opens his mouth. Not to be outdone, following tracks ‘Closer to Nowhere‘ and live set favourite ‘Bred For Breeding’ build the album into a formidable beast – drumming up images of Grinspoon‘s earlier, grungier days.
‘Medication [Fire Eyes]‘ offers a more chilled, mellow sound – albeit it mixed with a loud, in-your-face, sing-a-long chorus that makes you want to throw yourself head first into a dirty, sweaty moshpit. The onslaught doesn’t stop as the opening bars of title track and latest single, ‘Persona Non Grata‘ ring out through your speakers. Once again, it’s the quiet-loud-quiet technique that sells the track over – with Britton’s vocals ranging from poetically reserved to a melodic roar.
‘Searching the Low‘, ‘Glitter Kids‘ and ‘The Yearly Drag‘ round out the album – allowing the listener to wind down as the last bars of ‘Long SnakeMoan‘ bring the album to a dramatic end.
Without a doubt, Persona Non Grata is the perfect debut album . It not only demonstrates the hard rocking prowess of a band with huge amounts of potential, but also offers a fresh perspective on a genre that is as old as the hills. Keep your eyes on Strangers – they’ve got a big future ahead of them.