Album: Kane Strang – Blue Cheese

April 6, 2015

Kane Strang’s Blue Cheese is a slow-burning gem of a debut album that inherently necessitates repetition.  Clever and quirky, the motley collection from New Zealand’s Kane Strang flows fluidly through agile turns of phrase, swelling psychedelic textures, and pointed articulation of instrumentation. It’s the kind of album that was made with care. Each song is quite different from the next, yet united in a hazy, lumbering psychedelic aura.

In a genre that often succumbs to a freer form, Strang maintains the discernible structure of his psychedelic pop numbers by always pairing at least two elements of together as a slightly distorted mirror. Rhythmic harmonization between bass and vocals on “The Web” and “Never Kissed A Blonde” make the songs’ melodies pop. On the album’s closer, “Scarlet King Magnolia,” the melody is paralleled in voice and guitar as it patiently wanders forward, often only wavering one step higher or lower. The cohesion makes for an easy and consuming listen.

The album’s other key feature is a ephemeral use of subtlety. Sneaking in on short pauses and quiet riffs, the placement of the little things is what makes the songs shine. Subtle syncopation in “What’s Wrong” and “Full Moon, Hungry Sun” provide attention grabbing breaks from otherwise lingering tunes. One deep listen to “She’s Appealing” will reveal an intricate web of layers all align into a full and progressive psychedelic backdrop.

Truly too short but just the right amount of sweet, Blue Cheese is the concentrated effort Strang had promised. For a self-produced album, it’s got a whole lot of charm that is derived from slightly from its lo-fi nature but mostly from its confident delivery. As a grouping of songs, it serves as the perfect introduction to what Strang has to offer and jumping off point for the rest of his music career. I hope it receives the attention and praise it deserves. You can purchase it on Kane Strang’s Bandcamp below.

Favorite Tracks: Scarlet King Magnolia, The Canyon Her River Carved, & The Web

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