Joel Strauss started his solo career in 2011 and has been hard at work ever since. He has previously released LP’s and EP’s and his latest is entitled Don’t Lose That Feeling. Strauss could be considered a singer/songwriter but when I’m presented with that term I usually think of a guy with an acoustic guitar and that’s about it. The songs on Don’t Lose That Feeling are fleshed out and implement a rich variety of instrumentation that more often than not indicates a full band.
As I was listening to Strauss the most original element is unequivocally his voice. It’s a voice that may take a little getting used to. He sometimes has a nasally inflection that is reminiscent of Colin Meloy from The Decemberists that people may or may not find appealing. The more I listened the more it grew on me and after a complete spin of the album I was sold. After hearing a thousand male singers who sound exactly the same Strauss’s voice was a welcome change.
His two biggest strengths are his lyrics and a knack for writing a memorable vocal melody. Take for instance the song “The Artist.” The music is delightful revolving around vocal harmonies, simplistic guitar progression, drums and bass but it was really carried by the lead vocal melody. The melody is a sing-along out loud type of catchy tune and will get stuck in your head whether you like it or not.
Another highlight is “Bidding War,” which is pretty straightforward rock pop but the delivery and energy is exceptional. It’s upbeat, fun and in some ways reminded me of The Shins. Strauss peels back the instrumentation to an acoustic guitar on the song “Eyes (featuring Zoe Fitch).” The duet is excellent and their voices coalesce into a heartfelt vocal performance that is arguably the most striking on the album.
This is a really solid work by Strauss. There weren't any songs that felt subpar and I was very pleased when I got to the end of the album. This is definitely an album you want to check out.
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