"At some point you wonder if maybe the grass is greener, and then you go somewhere else and you realize it's not that much greener so what do you hope for now?" so says Yellow Ostrich's singer-guitarist Alex Schaaf, summing up the themes of his band's powerful new album, strange land.
Schaaf knows what he's talking about he moved to New York from Wisconsin in 2010, got a bunch of acclaim for the Yellow Ostrich album the mistress, signed to Barsuk and toured the U.S. several times with his hot new band: multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez and drummer Michael Tapper. Still, wherever you go, there you are, and that's what strange land is all about.
Strange land retains Schaaf's sweet, boyish voice and bracingly open-hearted songwriting, but adds a hard-won urban edge: brawny bass and busy, prominent drums, triumphal horns, and plenty of raw, overdriven guitar. As the album transitions from wistful but supercharged pop to new musical realms, it's as if you're hearing the transition the band itself made, from self-contained solo unit to a collaborative trio of outstanding musicians.