CRAVING STRANGE, the boys from Long Island, NY are back with a brand new album, A Life Exceptional. The wait is over, and they have given us ten tasty tracks (twelve on the bonus track version) that, while still rocking hard, are as different as night and day from ANYTHING on previous record Savior Self. This is a ballsy move, and one that many bands would NEVER do. You can rest assured that an interview is in the works soon so I can pick their brains about this one (You hear me, Jimmy G?). The best way I can describe it is like this. Think of the band EXTREME, one of my favorites. They went from more of a wall of sound with 1992’s III Sides to Every Story to a stripped-down, much more raw-sounding production on 1995’s Waiting For the Punchline, an album that I loved and applauded them for. So believe you me, this is a compliment to the CRAVING STRANGE guys.
Alright, let’s begin. The disc opens with “Dirty Rock”, and oh how apropos. The guitar tone is just that, dirty, and the tempo moves with the seductive sway of a woman. Matt Abbate’s guitar solo is especially noteworthy, a seemingly endless waterfall of notes cascading down on your ears. This leads us into “Your last Day Alive” a four-on-the-floor rocker that I can see being the second song in their live set in the near future. Next up is “Here and Gone” which has a bit of a country meets alt-rock feel and a very memorable hook. This was very much a departure song for me compared to the last record, but it’s so good and infectious that I’m sure everyone’s gonna love it. Title track “A Life Exceptional” has some nifty stutter steps to it as well, and kudos to guitarist/vocalist Jimmy G for singing the title so effortlessly.
And now we come to one of my favorites on the album. “Do You Remember” is one of those songs that you can tell is from the heart, and Jimmy’s delivery is perfect, with the rhythm section of Jimi Tassone (drums) and Tommy Wendt (bass) quietly anchoring the whole thing, and when they do kick in, they don’t overplay their hand one bit. On “Denial” the group definitely brings the funk for the verses while opting to rock out on the choruses and with “More Than Myself” we enter the realm of pop punk for a few minutes. It’s a delicious little piece of ear candy for sure. And aggression is the vibe I got from “Incomplete” but without turning into noise, thank the Gods.
The rest of the album is the equivalent of the triple play in baseball in that all three songs are great, starting with “Would You Do the Same” a question asked with conviction on the refrains. Another killer solo on this one, too! My other runaway favorites are the bonus tracks “Angeline”, which I have been playing almost non-stop for the past couple of days, and “Breathe”, which has also been on steady repeat status. They really struck gold with these two. Hell, the whole album is gold. And I say that not because I’ve gotten to know and love these guys, but as a fan of good music. Well, CRAVING STRANGE delivers it and then some. Grab your copy of A Life Exceptional at one of the upcoming CD release shows seen HERE and crank it up to 11!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM