strangers and exiles
2005.march :: soulshine
by jaclyn arndt
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It's probably not a good idea to dive too deep into "Strangers & Exiles" when on the blue side, because the Foghat-inspired first half-minute is the most deceptive album opener since the corker found on Death From Above 1979's debut. While not a depressing album, "Strangers & Exiles" is still far from being a barrel of monkeys, and if the words "achingly beautiful" were going to be used to describe anything, it would be Welkin's sophomore effort.
Led by Geoff Birch, the Vancouver band has created an experience that's meant to be taken straight from beginning to end. Be warned though, because it's not exactly a short journey – the album clocks in at 76 minutes. It's extremely hard to describe Welkin's sound without presenting the music itself, but here goes...
Not a sound has been overlooked, and nothing is misplaced on "Strangers & Exiles". The complexity of the arrangements is oft times awe-inspiring and mind-boggling, and just grows more so with each listen. Full of surreal imagery, the folding repetition of lyrics adds to the pulsing, melting, and swirling beauty of the beast, for "Strangers & Exiles" is a living and breathing thing.
Welkin are polar opposites of The Mars Volta, yet the closest kin at the same time – a backwards statement that makes sense in the far-off universe that both bands exist in. Both will give fantastic visions, and both will give weird tripped out dreams should a person fall asleep to the otherworldly sounds of their music. Chalk it up to personal experience.