ESTRANGED, THE: Self-titled: LP

It’s a singles collection of the most-if-not-all-sold-out Estranged 7”s (and an unlisted track. I believe it’s off their debut LP, Static Thoughts). At the moment, I’m putting the Estranged in the camp that’s occupied by Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Hex Dispensers, The Young Offenders, and the Marked Men. Stylistically, they’re nothing alike, but their approaches to the heart of music are similar. Oh, one could say, “That’s nothing new,” and they wouldn’t be wrong. But they’d be more wrong than right. (It’s not squeaky intergalactic balloon music played with vacuum cleaners in a tonal range that’s aimed at making your pancreas quiver. Or a “whathaveyou.”) The Estranged are exploring the dark ventricles of music that was usually accompanied with a brooding synthesizer. Think Bauhaus or Sisters Of Mercy, but by died-in-the-wool punks shorn of spookiness and frilly-edged shirts. Artful pretense is replaced by hard-edged instruments and scuffed boots. And, away from the comfortable trappings of an already created subculture and the genre limitations that come with them, The Estranged make music that is pumping intriguing, rare blood in real time. I’m super glad that these songs are staying in print. I figure the more people getting into The Estranged, the better.

 –todd (Dirtnap / Black Water)