A quick departure

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The indie alternative band Yellow Ostrich’s 2011 debut “The Mistress” was easily one of my favorite albums of the past year. Their sophomore effort makes a significant departure from their debut and arrives only about six months later.

The most noticeable difference is the improved production quality. “The Mistress” was recorded in a small studio and composed in frontman Alex Schaaf’s bedroom.

“Strange Land” was recorded with the help of Barsuk Records and the difference is audible.

The new production sounds cleaner but it does take away some of the unique, genre-defying quality of the debut.

The tracks are a bit more complicated, catchier and louder on this album. The lead-off track “Elephant King” is a very magnanimous opener that displays the bands’ newfound reliance on instrumentation and decreasing dependence of vocal harmonies.

However, Schaaf’s wavering and endearing vocals remain very much the same and the band retains the same personal feel.

Songs like “Marathon Runner” and “Up In The Mountains” offer a slower, more-thoughtful sound.

Strange Land’s changes are more than just a fresh coat of paint and they offer their own pros and cons. However, Yellow Ostrich is still able to deliver a quality effort.

Focus tracks: “Elephant King,” “Marathon Runner” and “Up In The Mountains”