There’s a new wave of female fronted rock acts emerging out of the UK, and Stricken City could have considered themselves one of the best, had the band not decided to call it quits upon release of this second record. It’s a true shame, because “Losing Color” is a secret gem that this reviewer will recommend to anyone who’s willing to listen.
The vocals, provided by founding band member Rebekah Raa, never shy away from taking chances. She plays with many styles, and finds a blend akin to something only a veteran rock star would risk. Seeing these songs performed live would be a real treat, but not just for the vocals. This whole band is buzzing with energy, on every single track. It’s danceable, singable, and layered beyond what you’d expect from such a low profile act.
It’s easy to compare Stricken City to contemporaries like Florence and the Machine, but the biggest influence that pushes through is an almost tribal sound, combined with ringing guitars. It’s reminiscent of U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” in the absolute best ways. The record feels epic at times, without sounding like a factory made stadium album.
Standout tracks are abound here, with the tempo of the tracks changing frequently enough to keep the listener excited about what could be coming next. A focal point of the album is “PTHD Skellington Remix”, a song that evokes those still-sensitive emotions about LCD Soundsystem’s split, but it fills a void, until you realize that Stricken City too, have split at what would be considered the top of their still very early game.
The production on this album is simply top notch, there’s no dead air or loss of quality sound that makes these songs seem otherworldly at times. Instead of following what could be considered an aggressive trend towards lo-fi, Stricken City want to make these songs flourish at every opportunity. For a record that was originally offered on a pay-as-you-will system, a la Radiohead, this is worth every single penny.
This album was a surprise. It’s shocking it hasn’t seen more attention from the media, and even more shocking that any group could walk away from what the tracks here could bring them. It’s a must listen for 2011, and one that deserves a legacy.