By Karmin Yu. If you’re just like me and you’re barely making it alive to the end of this semester, then I’ve got something for you. Better than any drink at Starbucks, Strange Talk’s new album, Cast Away, will for sure give you that extra boost of motivation to keep you going. With its bright and poppy sounds, it makes you hang on to that extra hope that summer is just right around the corner – even though spring just started here in Canada.
The four-piece Australian electro-pop band released their debut album in the US just last Tuesday. Although this album is their first, these guys aren’t new to the music industry. Consisting of a strange grouping of a violinist, a dance producer and two soul musicians, they’ve already released a self-titled EP back in 2011. Three years later, they’re back – better than before, to present you with Cast Away.
The album kicks off with a very fast track, entitled “Cast Away”. This song is filled with many loud and explosive beats that hook you right into the album and that prepare you for the bright sounds that are to come. It has a very retro and disco feel to it, making you want to get up and start dancing – even in the middle of a subway cart. Then, as we move onto the next track, “Falling in Love,” which is equally as fast paced to its predecessor, we also feel like we’re falling in love pretty quickly with whoever Stephen Docker sings about. At this point, the band has successfully gotten us head over heels for their record.
When we reach the fifth track, “Young Hearts,” it’s a whole new experience. Retaining the whole album’s electronic theme, this song strips away its heavy usage of synths and slows it down a notch, giving it a very nostalgic effect, which thus successfully depicts the reminiscence of a young love experience. To some of you, “Young Hearts” may sound really familiar; the masterminds behind “#Selfie,” The Chainsmokers, actually made a remix of this song and it was also featured in one of Snapchat’s most recent advertisements.
Similarly, “Come Back Home” is also one of the slower songs on the full length. Again, it deals with the theme of love, but this time, with the pain associated to loneliness. The words: “Come back home, cause I’ve been waiting – waiting for you” are very aw-inducing and make me want to sit and wait with the vocalist until his lover returns. This track, in my opinion, proves the band’s versatility since the 80s sound to this song creates a contrast to all the other heavy electronic tracks.
Finally, we are thrown back into the upbeat world of the album when “Morning Sun” plays. Fun fact, you may also have already been exposed to this song since it was featured in Zac Efron’s movie, That Awkard Moment. The lyrics in this one aren’t very elaborate; the words “Morning Sun” are repeated over and over throughout the song – so much that they actually get ingrained into your head. It’s light and summery, which makes it a great way to end the album.
Overall, Cast Away is an extremely strong debut album for Strange Talk that would earn it a 4/5. A greater variety in musicality would definitely make certain songs stand out more, as was the case with “Young Hearts” and “Come Back Home.” I highly recommend this album if you’re looking for some new tunes to add to your summer playlist or if you just want something catchy to listen to.
PS: If you’re into Daft Punk or Cut Copy, then this album is definitely one that you should check out. If that hasn’t enticed you into listening to Strange Talk yet, then I’m not sure what you’re waiting for.
PPS: If you’ve already played the album from beginning to end and perhaps inside out and are starting to long for more, then you can also catch them at certain events in Los Angeles, New York or even Toronto. For more information, click here: http://strangetalkmusic.com/Tour
Listen to “Young Hearts” below: