StrawDaze – Sei (Italy, 2015)

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Sei marks the second release for the Italian, Mantua-based folk-punk band StrawDaze, and precisely their first LP. Released in July 2015 under the Irish label Nemeton Records, it brings a palette of feelings captured under a colourful folk-punk umbrella.
Arrangements are straightforward as one can expect, and the main melodic role is reserved to the usual folk instruments: banjo and tin whistle. This album sees the addition of a saxophone and a violin in two separate tracks, as well as lots of additional gang vocals with respect to older tunes.

If comparing it with their 2012 debut EP “Senza Rotta”, I honestly heard less enthusiasm coming from the recorded performance as well as less catchiness and “dancey-ness”, and this is why the overall album didn’t engage me as much as the EP. Overall, I sense a more melancholic, darker theme, and I can definitely say lyrics are less superficial and more thought-out than in the previous work. Every track has a distinct realistic theme, but all of them are dealt with using a certain amount of irony.

For instance, Tu Chi Sei’s pop-punk-ish melodies carry the theme of people appearing as “personas”, and hence the fact that everyone’s wearing some kind of mask and acting some kind of part. Diritto Di Plagio has more of rock and roll, AC\DC kinda vibe. With its singalong-ready choruses, it narrates of the recycling of ideas in art and how should we beware of artists taking part in mere “quotationism” with no actual first-hand personality.
My standout track would be Immobili with its Blink 182-inspired feel and catchy chorus. Kind of an emotional, melancholic tune on the urge to grow up and find a way in life in spite of fear and uncertainty.
We then have themes of personal growth in Scegli and materialism in Cenere with no substantial mood changes up to La Rivolta del Cammello which brings some freshness with its happy funky\reggae vibe and sax melodies.
La Tua Ultima Dose discusses drugs as opposed to positive “healthy abuses”in life, with a groovy pre-chorus and more “hardcore”-driven verses. In Classifica deals with society-imposed competition VS the recognition of actual self-worth. In una Vetrina has an upbeat feel and provides a rant against social networks and living “online life” as opposed to the real “here and now” one.
Esplodi screams for rebellion with some more singalong moments, and finally the album wraps up with Un altro Autunno, a sort of naïve\dreamy tune with a ballad flavor, opening with some almost meditative unison vocals.

As implied before, I can say I appreciated the previous EP more: may it be for a more condensed effort in track variety, as you could pick the ballad, the dancey one, or the aggressive one; or may it be for the freshier, perceivable enthusiasm of the guys at the time. It just felt more lively.
Fact is, I found quite hard to listen to this album front to back without losing any interest. One can still blame a badly arranged tracklist, who knows, everything counts in the experience. I’d have expected a bit more variety and a bit more emphasis on the folk side, instead the album seems kind of a regression of the band towards a more average and standardized “modern Italian punk”, kind of “shouty live pub” sound. Just my personal opinion. Not a bad album by any means, but I probably was expecting more from it.
I can appreciate the small step up in lyrical content. Also, kudos for keeping the lyrics in their mother tongue once again, Italian. Until next time, guys!

 

Tracklist:
1.Tu Chi Sei?
2.Diritto di Plagio
3.Immobili
4.Scegli
5.Cenere
6.La Rivolta Del Cammello
7.La Tua Ultima Dose
8.In Classifica
9.In Una Vetrina
10.Esplodi
11.Un Altro Autunno

Label: Nemeton Records
Links: Facebook | BandCamp
Release Date: July 20, 2015
Reviewed by Rizzo

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