Strangers Pass ~ Self-Titled EP
Date: Saturday, June 06, 2009 @ 18:11:51 UTC

Artist: Strangers Pass

CD: Self-Titled EP

Home: Rahway, New Jersey

Style: Hard Rock

Quote: "There's a seriously crusty Grand Funk/Mountain/Blue Cheer vibe on most of the songs, and that's just fine."

By Peter Braidis

Put on your bell bottoms, break out the Pong (or bong) and sit back in your beanbag chair and crank up the self titled EP from New Jersey's Strangers Pass. Don't worry, there's no Leif Garrett, Leo Sayer or other 70s horrors here. Instead we get some hard rockin' 70s-influenced Classic Rock sounds on each of the five songs included here. While Strangers Pass are closer to Stoner Rock than anything else, thanks to the strong vocals of guitarist Robert Sadowski there's life in each song.

There's a seriously crusty Grand Funk/Mountain/Blue Cheer vibe on most of the songs, and that's just fine. Drummer Frank Gattuso plays with an appropriately heavy hitting style, but never overplays, and bassist Bob Mikkelsen holds things down with Gattuso in the rhythm section. Certain instrumental breaks evoke memories of vintage Rush, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath (though less complicated), but the songs themselves do not.

That being said, tracks like "Alone," "Snake Charmer," and "Through The Maze" are all quite good and energetic. "Alone" in fact, is the best cut and has a strong guitar riff and vocals. To put things in a more modern context, this isn't too dissimilar from bands like Government Mule, Priestess, or even early Soundgarden.

However, the generic nature of the songs and the retro approach are limiting. Some of the breakdowns are a little trippy and when things pick back up again, it's usually through that same 70s Classic Rock sound. The mix is fairly muddled and blocky however, although that does somewhat enhance the vintage feel. These are the kind of songs that would probably be best served in a live setting. This may not be the most original recording, and the songwriting needs improvement, but the sprit is there even if the songs might not be quite up to speed just yet.

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