Little Billy Died –  Strangely Alright  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a4153982946_16I made the point before when the wonderful All of Us Are Strange found itself under my reviewing pen but I’ll say it again, Strangely Alright are the perfect sonic storm of the sound of the past being rebranded for a new, and indeed future, audience. There does seem to be a fascination with the what’s gone before these day, I guess that there always is to some degree, but it has led to a wave of bands liberally plundering, cherry-picking and plagiarising previous golden ages and musical high points in a rush of commercially driven, rose-tinted, nostalgia soaked rebranding. Strangely Alright are not that sort of band. Anything but.

Last time out they wore some wonderful psychedelic influences on their Paisley patterned sleeves, it was taut but trippy rock dressed in dapper attire and served both the modern audience’s eclectic tastes and also would have kept a lot of the “they don’t write music like they used to” brigade very happy to. This time around they offer up something more delicate, a heart-tugging ballad of the type that Ray Davis would have been proud to have penned. It is a gentle piece that slowly descends into heartbreak, highlighting the realities of bullying and emotional neglect in a young boy and musically wrapped in soft, sensitive vocals and minimal musical motifs as the mesmerising narration moves towards its inevitable conclusion. 

It takes a brave band to write such a song and an adept one to side step the easy traps of mawkishness and clumsy emotion that lesser bands would have fallen in to, but Strangely Alright do a sterling job. Just the right blend of honesty and emotion, gentle delivery and stark conclusion and although you have to remember that we are in the world of entertainment here, it is always great when a band can use such a platform to both make you feel and make you think whilst you take in such a deftly crafted song. Good, not to mention important, work all round.

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One comment

  1. […] Strangely Alright are sonic time-travellers. They paint paisley patterned pictures that shimmer with the 60’s mercurial blend of darkness and innocence, they mesh psychedelia and pop melodies together, they run rock muscle through the most danceable of tunes, they are the perfect blend of past and present. Their reference points, early Floyd’s whimsey, The Kinks deftness, later Beatles experimentalism, Bolan-esque strut, perhaps King Crimson’s more groovesome output as well as later retro-revivalists such as Redd Kross and Jellyfish, might suggest that they spend their time glancing back to past glories. But as I have said before, they also sound like a band making music for today. Pastiche and comfort zones is not what is going on here and whilst you can probably make a fair guess at the contents of their record collections Stuff is every bit as adventurous as the music made by those they tip their hats to. […]

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