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Strange Names - Strange Names (Album Review)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 Written by Heather McDaid

Walk into any club today and you'll be bombarded with loud music - it might be catchy and make you want to move, it might have exotic influences or attack you with unrelenting beats. Whatever your fancy, give it a margarita and a beach chair and let it soak up the sun, and you'll have created Strange Names.

The Minneapolis-based duo, Liam Benzvi and Francis Jimenez, have produced a warm and fuzzy collection of four tracks on their eponymous EP, comfortably flitting between ideas. Potential Wife has a reggae funk to its electronic backbone and ticks all the boxes. It's got the beats, the bounce and the attractive melodies, but it's relaxed, almost airy. Team the blurred guitar in the back with the punctuated bass and that groove is undeniable.

But Strange Names are not a one trick pony, and Strange Revelation chills everything down to a glacial pace. Words are lucid but drawn out, with the duo proving themselves capable of stripping things to bare essentials without losing their grip.

Luxury Child springs back into life with a sharp guitar line infused with that brooding bass, but it never gets carried away. The vocals catch the ear with their on-point harmonies.

Yet, they still switch it up for their final handover as Young takes a more minor key approach. There’s a raw quality to the production - not everything is quite so polished, certain elements have a dose of grit to them.

There's a post-punky element just under the surface at times, and if this EP is indicative of their upcoming album then let’s hope they explore this hybrid in more depth. It's easy to see why this sun-filled EP has wooed people and it may just be the first of many musical steps towards winning over a whole new audience.

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