‘Cali’ is most certainly, a stunningly well-crafted record and the perfect soundtrack to watch the world go by
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As it turns out, the sunny shores of California is a lot closer to home than you think. All you need to do is turn on Shadows Like Strangers’ debut album ‘Cali’, and you can almost smell the ocean as you bop along to this ambitious little world of sound. The quartet hailing from Nottingham have been working hard and polishing their message into the world for the past few years, and as a result they are simply radiating those carefree, upbeat vibes that you’d expect while driving with the top down, in the blazing sunshine with this record.
The album opens with the mighty ‘Counterpart’, with just the
right combination of zippy and bouncy riffs coupled with polished harmonies
from vocalist Jezza Bruce, this is definitely a track to get you moving. The
astoundingly professional feel is clear from the offset, and as we dip into ‘Love
Again’ and ‘The Space Between Us’, we get a true sense of their love for rock
with the head banging riffs and crashing percussion. Both tracks shine at their
flawless and addictive choruses, so understated yet the words subtly score
their way onto your heart.
‘Cali’ takes the tempo down a few notches with ‘A Way Home’
and the painfully raw ‘Sad Songs’. The opening line in the latter is truly one
we have surely all felt: ‘I don’t wanna sing sad songs, but I keep getting hurt’.
Bruce’s vocals echo against the harsh, empty void as the track opens, and they
are hauntingly beautiful, and remain with you throughout this thought-provoking
The inspiring use of the ocean and seagulls, the clinking of
the lighter and the soft close of the car door gives ‘Coast to Coast’ a sense
of location and belonging, cementing you into the heart of the Shadows Like
Strangers world and you feel like you are embarking upon the ‘Cali’ journey
along with them. The crashing waves brings a sense of relaxation that you didn’t
even realise you needed, but was wonderful nonetheless.
The remainder of the record brings the feeling of joy back
to the table, with ‘It Doesn’t Matter At All’ and ‘The Art of Falling Down’ placing
them firmly into the rock side of proceedings. There’s a satisfying combination
of pure rock anthems interspersed with slower, softer acoustic tones throughout
‘Cali’, and all positioned exactly where they need to be to pique your interest
and curiosity in this truly talented quartet.
As the airy tones of closing track ‘Dead Happy’ enter your
periphery, it is almost mesmerising to believe that this is the same band. The
way it modestly builds into one last triumph is spectacular, and Bruce’s soaring
vocals encapsulate this very feeling. For one last time, Shadows Like Strangers
truly capture your soul.
‘Cali’ is most certainly, a stunningly well-crafted record and the perfect soundtrack to watch the world go by. This collection of songs are so effortlessly upbeat, and they simply ensnare you into your own little corner of the world, where nothing else matters, just you and Shadows Like Strangers.