Saturday, September 11, 2010

Music: Strength: Mind-Reader CD REVIEW on COSMOGAMING

Music: Strength: Mind-Reader
Our Take
Portland’s Strength made a name for themselves a few years back with their mix of disco and electro with some indie rock influences. The group’s newest full length Mind-Reader looks to continue this trend as it has some catchy songs that will stick with listeners for days after they have listened to it. Despite the fact that you’ve heard plenty of bands like this before these guys have some great hooks, but the short length might be a tad bit disappointing.

The material on Mind-Reader is a combination of beat heavy songs that take influence from electro and disco and rock tracks that have a good deal of guitar distortion and some slight punk vibes. Now, anyone that’s been knowledgeable about popular forms of indie music in recent years will realize that I basically just described a sound that every group is using right now. Strength will undoubtedly remind you of a number of other acts out there (the fact sheet name drops Chromeo and Datarock and I’d also throw in a little LCD Soundsystem and Ghostland Observatory) but this isn’t an issue at all. Why is that? The answer is that these guys have killer hooks. Despite some initial reservations I found that these songs all stood on their own and days later I still had some of them in my head, and that says a lot. However, this disc only offers eight songs and lasts for about half an hour and that short length is going to leave some listeners disappointed that there isn’t just a little more substance.

Vocalist Bailey Winters has a pitch that is just drenched with sex appeal (and I’m saying this as a straight male) and this will surely help Strength to have a fairly broad appeal. While Mind-Reader doesn’t seem to have as many songs that are as in your face with sexuality, there are a few such as “Brandy” that go over the top with it and use their sexual imagery as a means to make these songs get stuck in your head. Strength’s songs are interesting in the sense that they have simplistic choruses that make for good club/rave tracks, but if you go deeper and investigate their themes you will find a group that are more complex than they let on.

Mind-Reader is a killer album and while it does feel far too short to me I guess I can’t complain too much since each of the eight songs are extremely strong and stand out. I realize there are hundreds of these disco/electro inspired bands out there right now but Strength is one that is worth checking out. However, I for one am hoping that they’ll be putting out more songs in the near future as this disc did leave me wanting more.

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