STRUNG OUT: Black Out the Sky: CDEP

For a second, I could’ve sworn the wrong disc was queued up—one of those “is-this-a-manufacturing-error?” type of moments. After a little sleuthing, it turns out, nope, it’s Strung Out alright. Black Out the Sky begins and carries forward as a full-blown acoustic rock record (emphasis on rock, e.g.: full band and electric instruments included), much to surprise, considering the band’s lengthy track of consistency when it comes to style in their discography (as referenced in my previous review for Transmission.Alpha.Delta back in issue number 87). As one sits back and combs through the first few tracks, you expect the band will break out into their standard form at some point for sure, but it never happens. They really are doing this. But the real miracle here is that when so many bands of their ilk try and fail at this subgenre, Strung Out somehow pulls off this significant break in style. It isn’t difficult to imagine the band pulling off songs like this musically. They’re pros, after all. But to do it without sounding corny? Almost impossible. It would most likely end up sounding like Theory Of A Deadman or some bullshit, which isn’t what we have here at all. Jason’s voice guides the band always, but without his charm, I’m not sure Black Out the Sky would have the same effect. It’s a shockingly enjoyable, well done record. And make no mistake, that’s a huge compliment, since this could have gone horribly wrong if they were a different band. Fifteen years ago, when rock bands were still on the radio, this could have been a serious contender. Side note: eight tracks with three songs over four minutes is considered an EP? Maybe that’s strategic, but if it looks and sounds like a full length, it is what it is. –Steve Adamyk (Fat, fatwreck.com)