CD Review: Strangely – Hot Air Boat Lune

On the first listen I was pretty sure I hated Strangely’s Hot Air Boat Lune and all of its totally abrasive gypsy folk songs with off-key vocals and absurd lyrics. Then, I had a really terrible day and listened to it on my walk home. Seemingly, the point of the 10-track album is to throw convention in the face of the listener. Although it may sound like an old-timey children’s sing-along at first, the lyrics are very much about growing up and not giving in to the bullshit of constructed realities. Take for instance the lyrics of the first track “Slantly” which, apart from being hilarious, belts the chorus “go wear a onesie whenever you want, eat s’mores for breakfast, go love in a boat. ‘Cause my name is Strangely and that is no lie, I’ll keep being strangely…. ’til the day that I die.”

However, as I continued to listen to the album I noticed underneath the bravado and charm of this lo-fi accordion, ukelele compilation of chaos, is a fair amount of anger at the world Strangely lives in, though it is beautifully wrapped in sardonic wit and odd couplings of imagery. Perhaps this was the point. Strangely is calling out up-tight society on the total hypocrisy of those who claim to “live-and-let-live” while simultaneously shoving their values down others throats. The duality of the album is therefore worth a listen, simply as a commentary piece by a young man with something to say. If nothing else it certainly beats the same old “iced-coffee-beautiful-day-to-be-in-Bellingham” lyrics we’ve heard from other local bands. The only real draw back to the album is that the message gets lost around the fourth track when it all starts to sound the same. This may be the bi-product of using similar chords and melodies which follow the same arch in almost every song, for instance track three, “Big Ole Song,” which becomes massively repetitive about 3 minutes in. Yet, as is the case with the album over all, “Big Ole Song” somehow manages to redeem itself with total sincerity in the last minute. Total sincerity—the entire album might be summed up with that. Strangely’s album is like a mud cake; to certain “grown-ups” it might be repulsive and hard to consume, for others it looks like a delicious treat with which to really piss off our parents. I would highly recommend giving it a listen to anyone looking for something new in the local scene. As I said earlier, even if you don’t like the musicality (something I personally have problems with but I might not be the worlds largest ukele/accordian fan), Strangley has something to say about the status quo and that something is worth listening too.