I first heard of indie pop band Bleachers – created by Jack Antonoff (best known as lead guitarist of fun.) and comprised of Antonoff with his pre-fun. band Steel Train – through a lovely little app called Spotify. Thanks to an advertisement for Bleachers’ incredibly catchy hit single, “I Wanna Get Better,” the song became an instant personal favorite shortly after clicking on the ad. Go give it a listen and try to tell me the same didn’t happen for you. In fact, listen to the whole album, which is in its entirety on Spotify, and I dare you not to love each and every song. It doesn’t happen too often, as you’d see from reading my previous reviews, but I’ll tell you straight out that Strange Desire is at the top of my “must-have” album list. Let me tell you why.
For starters, just to get this off my chest – Jack Antonoff’s voice. He gets oversung amidst the vocals for fun., though of course we love Nate Ruess too so there’s no complaining here, but believe it or not Jack’s voice is… just… well, ladies, it’ll make you melt (sorry to the fellas that read this, I know that doesn’t really help you at all). Not only is his voice incredibly smooth, but his vocal range is outstanding. I’ll admit that the deepness he can reach at points is really what sucked me in, but there are times where the best way to describe it is “David Bowie-esque.” But you’ll just have to take a listen yourself to hear just what I mean. (Hint: See “Rollercoaster” and “Shadow” to find the hidden Bowie).
From the almost tribal sound of “Wild Heart,” to ’80s-reminiscent tones and beats of “Shadow,” to the anthem that is “I Wanna Get Me” and beyond, the other fabulous aspect of this gem of an album is the diversity. Strange Desire is the Bleachers debut album and Jack Antonoff does an absolutely fantastic job in showing us just what he’s got as an artist/musician. There is never a dull moment. Even the ballad-type tracks of “Wake Me” and “Reckless Love” are intriguing and amazing. Don’t even get me started on “You’re Still a Mystery.” LOVE IT.
Adding to the magnificence of this album, there are also two awesome ladies that make an appearance. The techno heavy “Take Me Away” features goth-electronic Canadian singer Grimes, and if she wasn’t enough, Yoko Ono also bestows her vocal stylings to “I’m Ready to Move On/Wild Heart Reprise.” You’ll be able to move on from your issues with Yoko in relation to The Beatles when listening to this song; it truly is a fascinating track.
Antonoff also demonstrates his skills with some trippy Hendrix-like electric guitar during the final song “Who I Want You to Love.” Not that he needed to prove himself at this point (we all know Jack Antonoff’s got skillzzz), but it’s definitely an added bonus.
Because I know that I could go on forever about this album, I will leave you with this: while the whole album has only just become available, I admit that I have listened to “I Wanna Get Better” so many times since the day I discovered the track that not only can I sing along with it, but I am also to the point that I honestly will sing or hum it on a regular basis.
Now that I can listen to all of Strange Desire just as much, you know it’s only a matter of time before I’ve got every song down. Some would call it “obsession.” I call it a damn good album. Just trust me on this one.
Purchase a CD (physical and digital available) through any of the places listed on the Bleachers website (Amazon, iTunes, etc.), as well as any major retailer. Ways to buy concert tickets – which more dates have just been added to! – are also found once you enter the Bleachers site.
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