May 19, 2015

LP: Strange Relations - Centrism

There's nothing moderate about Strange Relations.

"Centrism" is defined as a political position of moderate views or policies. Centrism is also the name of Strange Relations’s new LP and there is nothing moderate about it, except perhaps the utter balance of restraint the records holds while also exercising strong emotions through every element of the music; in the melody, chorus, verse, percussion, harmony. Centrism evokes the types of feelings that come from walking by the lake late at night, setting off fireworks with your friends, driving down the highway with the sun rising, and running through downtown on the search for that hidden venue where that band you love is about to start playing. These are the types of feels I’m looking for when I’m listening to music, not something happy, or sad, but something beyond categorization. The way I feel at any given moment is an amalgamation of all my experiences.

The album begins with "Underage", a smokey song full of anticipation and the subtle power of anger before it morphs into something that makes you want to put on all black and stay out all night. It has the vibe akin to a Warpaint song, one that is constantly dark and building. It’s the perfect start to the album when it fades out and leaves you wanting more. But just then, when you’re grasping at the last stroke of reverberating guitar, "You Talk" comes on. It's upbeat in a bittersweet way, while Casey Sowa sings out the questions, “Are you happy? / Do you need me? / Do you need space? / Are you listening?” "Parallel" marks the middle of the album, which slowly builds into pounding drums and bass and a voice desperately singing into your ears above guitar riffs that are playing into passionate abandon. The lyrics are excruciatingly well composed, with lines like, “And when the building’s far collapsed disintegrated on the cold air / And when the tunnels became flooded / Is it weird I thought of you?” "Uprooted" is full of soft underwater synth sounds and a bouncy, speeding bassline during the climax of the song. The album ends on an unexpected note that moves away from the high quality production of the album into the subdued, unpolished "Belong To". The lyrics match the simplicity and sweetness of the lullaby-esque finale, “I have always wanted / Your thoughts to belong to me / Only me.” Centrism is a fucking gem. You can count on the fact that I’ll probably be listening to it, somewhere out there while you’re reading this, either in my room alone with Christmas lights twinkling over my bed or walking around with my headphones on while looking at the stars and feeling a bunch of different things. Sometimes albums just feel like they were written for you, so although it was certainly unintentional, thank you Strange Relations.


Listen to Strange Relations on bandcamp.

Drew Lucia is a very fresh freshman at Bennington College, far away from her hometown Los Angeles. She loves living in Vermont because it gives her a chance to wear very unflattering clothing all the time. She likes making movies, writing sad things, and listening to Portishead most of the time. She thinks email is still a valid form of communication, so if you want her to write you a sad poem, say hey. She feels weird writing about herself in third person, so that's it for now.