Our Girl deliver with their Beautiful Debut Album ‘Stranger Today’
Since revealing their plans for the debut album, Our Girl has had me going through their musical catalogue trying to get ideas of what their first full length album would be like. Of course all the prepping and brushing up on their old material couldn’t prepare me for what I was going to hear on release day when Stranger Today hit my ears for the first time.
It was like a huge wave hitting me one after another throughout the album, as the band effortlessly throw you around from song to song. Take the opener ‘Our Girl’, soft and delicate verses with light angelic vocals until the thundering chorus where the guitars make the sounds of the world crumbling around you. ‘Being Around’ follows which is certainly a contender for song of the album, as you realise this album is special you hear vocalist Soph Nathan sing “I can feel it taking shape”, as if she’s a mind reader.
‘I Really Like It’ (Single of the Week) was released prior to this album, yet it felt fresh sitting around these new songs. No matter how long the song has been out for, it still is one of the most touching songs to be heard. From lyrics to musicality it’s wonderful to listen to and is a real highlight. All of these songs set up a strong start to the album, which was a sign of things to come.
‘Josephine’ has a really slow build to the break down where Nathan sings “Lets make up/ I’m Fed Up”. The eerie, screeching guitars are haunting at points, especially as it works its way down the neck of the guitar. The laid back style the vocals are delivered could be conceived as lack luster, but its that style which provide a perfect contrast to the chaos which the instruments provide behind this track.
The second half of the album is slightly slower in pace with songs like ‘Level’ and ‘Sub Rosa’ as the manic instruments take a step back and let the vocals do the work. These songs sound somewhat isolated at times, but perfectly placed on the record.
‘I Wish It Was Sunday’ is a highlight of the second half of the record. Lyrically it’s one of the best on here with the quick lines and subtle storytelling of a broken relationship: “Feeling sick of feeling fine / It’s not worth it all the time / It doesn’t break me but it shakes me / I’ve been alone before/ Just for a minute / I’ll admit I like being yours” .
Our Girl have an ability to build you up and feel safe, then rip it right from under your feet when the guitars hit you out of nowhere. Their sound has a grungy undertone, as it grumbles at you with melody – which is a joy to listen to. This is best heard in the album closer ‘Boring’, as the instruments run complete riot and surely the band lost all control at this point.
This is seriously one of the best albums that I’ve heard so far this year, because I know I’m not finished with it, there’s things still to learn from the record. The album has that quality where you’ll find yourself going back to songs you perhaps ignored first time around, only to discover something intriguing about it. With four months of the year left, there’s a strong feeling which says this will be in the end of year top 10 list. Our Girl can be proud of this debut, and look forward to sharing it with everyone around the world. As much as I want more from the band, this album will most definitely keep me occupied until then.
Words By Alex Wise
What did you make of it?