02 March 2010

DOWNLOAD: Complete Strangers - Complete Strangers

I will start with a bold statement: the Complete Strangers were the most original, most exciting and best band I have ever seen come from the West Virginia area. This record is one of the reasons why I created this blog in the first place. It's that good.

In 2001 the garage rock revival was in full force with bands like The Strokes and White Stripes. This was a blessing and a curse for the Strangers. A blessing in that it gave the band some deserved attention, which helped them book more shows and develop a regional fan base. But it was a curse in that, despite the band's 3-year-deep career, they were seen as jumping on the bandwagon, which was simply not the case.

Obsessed with the likes of Iggy Pop, Marc Bolan and Prince, it was the then 19-year-old Pike Holt who fronted the Complete Strangers and wrote all their songs. On stage, Holt channeled his inspirations resulting in a loud, emotional and sweaty (and some times bloody) frenzy of R&B-infused punk rock 'n' roll gospel. The Strangers' live shows were never half-hearted.

On record, 2002's self-titled album takes all that energy, rebellion and passion and blends it with more inspiration from the likes The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and Elvis Costello. The album opens with the anthemic "River of Lethe," which hints at James Brown singing the chorus of The Clash covering "Gloria." The funky and lyrically clever track "I Think I'm Getting Used to You" rings of the Talking Heads, while the 9-minute-long "Ain't It Strange" takes the listener from "Satisfaction" into Patti Smith's "Horses" in a matter of moments.

This band was spectacular. This record still is spectacular. I have nothing more to say.

Artist: Complete Strangers.
Album: Complete Strangers.
Year: 2002.
For fans of: The Stooges, T. Rex, Elvis Costello.

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