An album that has surpassed all my expectations: Stray’s “About Time”.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dell Bromham for the Now Magazine Podcast. Our conversation spanned his entire career, from Stray’s inception through the decades, and even touched on his solo ventures. Towards the end, Dell hinted at a new album in the works, and I eagerly anticipated its release. Little did I know, it would be such a revelation.
Why “About Time” Stands Out
The album is nothing short of stunning. While many might reminisce about Stray’s classics like “Saturday Morning Pictures” or “Suicide”, I genuinely believe “About Time” could be their magnum opus. The tracks, the arrangements, the entire vibe – it’s all impeccable.
The press release I received stated that the band, after nearly 50 years, continues to burn bright with “About Time”. It’s a mix of hard-hitting tracks and mellower numbers, sprinkled with hints of psychedelia and progressive rock. Dell’s compositions shine, reflecting his passion for storytelling and addressing social injustices.
I Am: The album kicks off with this anthem. The lyrics, “I am a lion, I am a tiger, I am a rock and roll survivor”, set the tone for a journey of resilience and self-discovery. It’s catchy, evocative, and promises a fantastic musical journey ahead.
Living the Dream: This track resonated with me on a personal level. The lyrics paint a picture of a sunny day at the beach, a moment of reflection, and the realization of living one’s dream. It’s a song that many can relate to, especially in these trying times.
Black Sun: A moody riff and a 4/4 rhythm make this one of my favorites. The guitar harmonies, reminiscent of Thin Lizzy, coupled with the Hammond organ, create a rich sonic experience.
Blood from a Stone: This track offers a deep dive into social observations, especially the invisible threats we faced during the lockdown. It’s a poignant reflection of the times.
Shout: This has a real eastern feel almost like Rainbow from the Rising period. The lyrics are very observant to the times we are living in.
The Sword of Democles: An epic, moody, and emotional track. It’s a testament to Stray’s versatility and ability to craft intricate musical narratives.
Better Day: A mid-paced track with a chugging riff and insightful lyrics about the pandemic’s fear and uncertainty.
Bonus Tracks: The CD version includes three additional tracks, which, despite being labeled as “bonus”, fit seamlessly with the album’s overall vibe.
The Hammond organ’s inclusion gives “About Time” a unique flavor, reminiscent of bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. Every song on this album hits the mark, making it a must-listen for both old fans and newcomers.
If you’ve been a fan of Stray, this album is a testament to their enduring talent. And if you’re new to their music, I urge you to give “About Time” a listen. Stream it, buy it, immerse yourself in it. It’s a musical journey worth embarking on.
Phil Aston I Now Spinning Magazine