The Strange Boys
Be Brave (In the Red)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Feb. 26, 2010
The Strange BoysBe Brave (In the Red)
The title track of the Strange Boys' sophomore LP is one of those perfect concoctions: a late-night juke joint hip-swing, with a chorus of drunken harmonies and jubilant sax solo. The rest of Be Brave experiences mood swings. Last year's acclaimed debut, And Girls Club, burst straight outta Beerland's garage fully formed, bent on party-speed rhythm and blues. Frontman Ryan Sambol's rubbery screech still oozes into every song of Be Brave, but it's often so hard to understand what he's saying you have no choice but to focus intently on the music. The stomp rock is mostly gone in favor of more heartfelt blues ballads like "Between Us" and the acoustic "Dare I Say," though "Laugh at Sex, Not Her," written as a voyeur from the other room, feels more like an interlude than a song. The loss of a drummer and addition of former Mika Miko sax player/singer Jenna Thornhill deWitt certainly changes the sound dynamic. Be Brave is a stoic affair, but it's no slump. A happy medium still lies ahead.