After discovering alternative/rock band Stranger, I needed to dive deeper into their Bones and Ghosts EP to see more of what this four piece were about. Stranger are Tom Morgan (vocals/guitar), John Morgan (guitar), Lain Delahunty (bass), and Josh Willmott (drums). Since the EP’s release in March, Stranger have been working hard, playing their music live with the likes of Undercast, Stuck Out, Harbours, Bukowski, and Trash Boat. I went track by track through Bones and Ghosts, soaking up the Melbourne band’s sound.
First on Bones and Ghosts is “Easy Visionary”, with crashing drums and easy riffs. The track soon embodies relaxedness and falling into a rabbit hole of the music without any hard boundaries of structure to interrupt. Melodic guitar sweetness cradles the Jeff Buckley-esque soaring vocals that touch on honesty, like fingers carelessly finding stray threads and bumps on otherwise smooth fabric, playing with the flaws of reality.
“Cos we’re getting older and we still don’t know what we want”
“Trust Me” brings its message with gritty riffs and those vocals that dance freely over the track. The vibe is expansive and exploratory with honesty; seeking and trying to find something to grip onto and not finding it. It feels like resignation to dissatisfaction.
“Some things are better left unsaid, just hope it all works out in the end”
I already had fallen in love with “Bandage”, the third on the EP. This is a beautiful thread of thought shared intimately, though with heaviness of the reality of the situation. Achingness rips through the fabric of the track and searching riff and strong drums are there hand-in-hand while the vocals bleed out. There’s a timelessness to this track.
“Just don’t pretend you don’t love me”
The title track opens with sweetness courtesy of guitar. “Bones and Ghosts” soon beckons into something more serious, feeling like raw surrender to another who is taking from them ruthlessly. It’s hard to know if this is enjoyed.. A love-hate relationship with being chewed up and spat out by love, for better or for worse? Raw sound and solid choruses burn through this story. Fear-tinged optimism is poured out vocally.
“I don’t care about shiny things or legacies
Just lie to me and tell me that in the end ill be alive”
Last on Bones and Ghosts is “Coward”, which feels like a crashing back down to earth after the previous tracks. It seems like a quest to feel, despite the discomfort and ugliness of reality. Echoed ‘oohs’ take us within the hollow expanse of thought, falling out of touch with reality for a moment. A gentle interlude touches a moment of presence and calm honesty. “Coward” is a brilliant track and a stand-out on the EP. Drum breakout is a curious touch.
“If I sit still for one more second I will shed my skin the way I’m supposed to”
I loved Bones and Ghosts. With these five tracks, Stranger have used heart and honesty to process their world. These outward processings are backed by raw and real rock that fluidly moves between holding a firmly grounded space, or giving an open space in which to explore. The melodies feel like playful experimentation, lightening the emotional load while keeping it real.
Heartfelt, real, beautiful vocals, cohesive sound.
I felt like I wanted more strength/commitment in the messages that were being shared in each song to fully feel on the same page.