I mean it as a compliment when I say there is something so utterly Eugene, Oregon about Uncle Stranger’s album This May Sound Odd, But I Can’t Even. Eugene being the home of this curious solo artist. I really loved this album, top to bottom. There’s darkness, levity and authentic emotion, a well-balanced mixture. It was disclosed to us that after of years of failing with bands Kevin Schmitt decided to go solo and more power to him because it works. The music is rooted in grunge with modern indie elements that had me swooning over the sound.
Schmitt makes a lot of brash and ballsy moves. There’s only one album I know of that starts off with a song called “Wizard Puke” and it sounds like anything but. With this track I was immediately introduced to Schmitt’s lovely pipes. With music like this you often get a muffled mumbler. Not Schmitt, he owns every note and never has me straining for his words. This opening track is downright beautiful. It has a soulful romanticism to it both musically and lyrically and it hooked me quickly.
The ballsy maneuvers keep coming with track number two, which I could see many people thinking they could do without, but I adore it. The second track is “First Impressions” and all the way through you get the same lyrics: “No one likes you / no one likes you anyway.” It’s only two minutes, but really stings. I think if you’re as insecure, jaded and generally cantankerous as I am, this track speaks volumes.
Schmitt also appears to have the mind of a damn decent drummer. Track number three, “Hangover” whips out some crazy rhythm action. There was no better track to slide in after a moody statement piece like “First Impressions.” It lightens things up while still keeping the music wrapped in a dingy film of grunge. Another honorable mention on this track is the bass which helped up the quirk factor.
It’s not every day I hear a song that perfectly bridges grunge and bluegrass, and yet here we are with track four “Cows in the Kitchen.” Here is where Schmitt really shows off his lyrical abilities. The vocals are pretty standout on this track as well. I like knowing he has this kind of range.
I was a little nervous about the final track “Regrets.” Was he gonna leave me on a bummer note? Well, the track was a bit more somber, but not what I would call a bummer. There was a sweetness and wisdom to it. Again, wonderful lyrics and an unexpected arrangement really sold me on this ending song.
Put This May Sound Odd, But I Can’t Even on your list if your tastes fall anywhere in the indie rock, alternative, grunge area. So often I hear solo artists and begin to contemplate what they would sound like working with others. That never crossed my mind when listening to this album, Schmitt is an all pistons firing band of his own. I say let Uncle Stranger continue to walk the solo path all the way to hopefully his next album because I am more than ready to hear it.
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