By Katelyn Ankney
After his previous demo A Pebble and a Paper Crane, Kane Strang releases his first full length LP after quite some time, and it has been worth the wait: Blue Cheese is a groove infused, lo-fi wonder. The New Zealander has crafted a consistent, psychedelic sound that will prove as a solid jumping off point for a bright future.
“The Web” is a steady opener for the record. Slow moving and slow burning, it lures you in gently and builds to an instrumental frenzy, only to take you back down. The heavy drums and bass keep you grounded initially, setting off into a wall of jangly strings and electronic infusions. “Things Are Never Simple” follows with a familiar feel, but expands into something slightly more atmospheric and melodic. His tone is lighter here, with a repeating chorus that will find you unconsciously tapping your foot. Consistency and formula carry you through the album on tracks like “Full Moon, Hungry Sun” and “Run Rings,” which includes solid, nearly-tangible instrumentals and hazy vocals.
“You Think” evokes for me Something about Airplanes-era Death Cab For Cutie. The sound is charmingly lo-fi with hefty, layered instrumentation and strong lyrics. Strang has captured a lulling vocal sound that drags you hypnotically through each song, “You Think” being no exception. The record continues on as a chimerical fusion of poppy melodies and weighty instrumentation. It is easy to immerse yourself inside of each track and linger. It’s injected with tunes like “Never Kissed a Blonde” which wakes you up, and takes more of a rock-centric approach; and “She’s Appealing” with sunny strings and resonances of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” There is a surf rock flavor to Blue Cheese that keeps your head bobbing throughout.
In the end, we come to “Scarlet King Magnolia,” and my personal favorite. The song flows with lighter vocals and solid harmonies. His voice lulls you, rather than being submerged in the folds of the instrumentals as on previous tracks. The tone evokes a reserved optimism, making for a perfect closing tune at the end of a hypnotic, dreamy record. Repeated vocals “I know it's not the same now” will be lodged in your head for days.
The record is overall a cohesive, consistent debut for this talented artist. With its whimsical and groovy come down tunes, Blue Cheese will no doubt garner repeated listens and will bolster what I can only imagine will be a sterling career.