CD Review: Strangefinger “Into the Blue”

intotheblue_600_200x200Strangefinger…strange name, but fantastic disc. “Into the Blue”, the latest offering from SideBMusic, arrives just in time as the new soundtrack to summer. Since it comes from SideBMusic, you know it has to be good…and after I heard Chris Manning (Jellyfish) had a hand producing and mixing the record, I was waiting outside by the mailbox with eager anticipation for its arrival.

Strangefinger is pure power pop bliss – band leader and main songwriter, Freddie Lemke, has gone through hell and high water to get this record, which was recorded and mixed in 2005, to finally see the light of day. Persistence has paid off and Strangefinger’s “Into the Blue” is destined to be a classic in the genre.

Maybe it is the album title or cover art, or song titles with “Ocean” and “Sunshine” in them, or maybe it is the sunny melodies, bright instrumentation, or positive vibe, or perhaps the heavy Brian Wilson influence in many of the songs, but numerous reviews have already remarked how appropriate “Into the Blue” is for the beach. And while these comments make perfect sense, I’d like to add for clarification that Strangefinger does not sing about the surf and sand; rather, the lyrics are much more interesting, rewarding the listener with something more substantial and contemplative.

We begin with a beautiful piano-driven pop tune called “Sleep”, which is far from a snore, boasting a gorgeous melody sung with perfection. “Good Night” is a show closer and, while it may have been intuitive to place this at the end of the CD, it is ear candy wherever and whenever it is heard. “Piscetarrius” is another piano-based and harmony-rich ditty that is very reminiscent of Jellyfish. Strangefinger also demonstrate that they are not just a one-trick pony by showing a soulful side on the groovy track “System to the Grind”. Additional highlights include a “lost in the 70s” ballad called “Two Angels” and the outstanding single, “There’s An Ocean”.

Strangefinger should appeal to a wide range of power pop and rock fans. Audition them for free by downloading “There’s An Ocean” here.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Strangefinger on MySpace. Official site. Get it.