Album Review: Shadows Like Strangers - 'CALI'

The Mic got an exclusive listen to Shadows Like Stranger’s debut album ‘CALI’ which is due to be released on February 1st, after nearly four years in the making. Shadows Like Strangers themselves are still less than a year old but the four-piece pop-punk group from Nottingham have had a successful time, ending last year supporting Lacey at Nottingham’s Rock City Basement for a sold-out show.

The album opens with ‘Counterpart’ which sets the scene of the album perfectly being a mixture of strong vocals but also a fairly light heated, summery feel to it. They released a video on their Facebook page of it being performed live at their Rock City Basement show for those of you who don’t want to wait another two weeks to hear it, but it is a great choice to open with.

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Shadows Like Strangers- Photo credit unknown

Love again’ is very similar as it is another catchy, pop-punk song with infectious melodies and an easy to sing along with chorus. The album then goes on to ‘The Space Between us’ which was part of the Night Visions EP released back in March 2018. This acts to change the pace a bit and is a slower, sadder tune with more remorse and regret, it’s a good indicator of the diversity of the band and along with ‘A Way Home’ which follows, it demonstrates the versatility and variety of sounds the band can perform well. ‘A Way Home’ is a good song but I feel the atmosphere of an audience when it is performed live would do it justice as listening alone it felt slightly too long.

The next song up opens with sounds of the ocean and seagulls with lighter clicks and a car stereo starting up which is a simple yet effective way to drop you straight onto a California beach and back to where the album has got its inspiration from. ‘Coast to Coast’ which was also on the Night Vision EP brings the energy back up with heavier and powerful vocals. ‘Night Vision’ also keeps this vibe going, as does ‘It Doesn’t Matter at all’.

We are then treated to another new song ‘Sad Songs’ which takes the tone back down again slightly with another pace change creating a darker and more longing atmosphere with lead singer Jezza Bruce asking to “Save me” and confessing “I don’t want to sing sad songs” yet he is forced to do so.

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Shadows Like Strangers supporting Lacey at Rock City Basement- Photo credit unknown

Shadows Like Stranger’s latest single ‘The Art of Falling Down’ comes fairly late on the album. Released on January 23rd, it is a good representation of what the album is like, so I would recommend to give it a listen as it nicely summarises the album with the use of powerful vocals, strong guitar, and catchy choruses.

The album ends with ‘Dead Happy’ which is a great choice for the last song, telling the story of somebody who is struggling but to “love yourself, it’s alright”. It’s an optimistic and inspiring song to end on and leaves you feeling a bit more confident and stronger than when you started the album.

Overall, the album is an energetic display of versatility and strength from Shadows Like Strangers and is finished really well with professional production really complimenting the bands music. A lot of the songs are ones that have been released before but the new gems and finished versions of singles that so far have only rarely been performed live are definitely worth a listen. Shadows Like Strangers are holding an album launch party at The Angel Microbrewery in Nottingham on February 8th with support from Jetlines and Cut the Heroics and will be raising money for GRL PWR (an ovarian cancer charity) throughout the night. It should be a brilliant evening and a great way to get to listen to all the new songs from the album as well as the old classics.

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