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Dear Strange - Lonely Heroes (2015) - Review

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Band: Dear Strange
Album title: Lonely Heroes
Release date: 28 August 2015
Label: Out Of Line Music

01. The Unicorn
02. Lonely Heroes
03. Dystopia
04. I Can See Through This
05. Licht
06. Strangers As We Are
07. Between The Sunsets
08. Hand Full Of Nothing
09. Hysteria
10. Sweeter Than This
11. Minima Moralia

It doesn't happen that often that an electronic/dark-wave/pop album hooked me like this one, but yes, the case with Lonely Heroes from French/German duo Dear Strange made just that. The duo, which consists of composer/instrumentalist Romain Frequency and vocalist Dorian E, enthused me already with the captivating instant hit, the first single and the album opener "The Unicorn". It's not that often that we hear a modern electronica band playing such kind of music that grabs the listener with its melody, catchiness and danceable rhythms, wrapped up with kind of a mysterious dark melancholic veil, yet everything with its base in retro wave sound. Everything is even more surprising because of the fact that this is their debut album.

If most of the recent dark/electronic/wave artists today just try to make their music as much as possible dancefloor acceptable, Dear Strange are making it in a different way and made an album that can be consumed both ways, while dancing in the club or in the privacy of your room, but yet with its romantic character it can perfectly work out as a background music while having a romantic evening with your dear one.

From the start on with before mentioned "The Unicorn" the listener gets hypnotized with nicely arranged and composed melodic melancholic lines, backened with strong bass lines, sometimes pulsating, other times reverberate. The variety of used samples and various artificial sounds are responsible for the very rich, deep sound and use of cyber electronics and some industrial segments, combined with future-pop elements makes it very modern. The voice of Dorian E is icing on the cake. With her powerful, quite dynamic and emotional voice, somewhere in between Siouxsie Sioux, Lana Del Rey and Chibi from The Birthday Massacre, she really adds that special atmosphere, depth and sensual character to each of the tracks.

My favorite tracks out of the album are those with a strong melancholic feel and atmosphere in it. So, beside the opener "The Unicorn", I was blown away by strong nostalgic 80s vibe in "I Can See Through This", then by the only one with German lyrics, sparkly, slow and gloomy "Licht", with a fusion beetween French-pop, German new wave and modern club sounds, then the amazing catchy dark-pop disco track "Strangers As We Are", and the mesmerizing nicely building up emotional dark/electro anthem "A Hand Full Of Nothing", which sounds like a mix beetween latest The Birthday Massacre, Lana Del Rey, Cyndi Lauper and of course Depeche Mode, implemented with sorrowful dark wave component, where in the chorus Dorian E really sounds amazing.

Dear Strange posses the ability to create such vivid emotions and explicit coolness while walking a thin line beetween catchiness and atmosphere, thanks to the inspiration and re-invention of the dark side of the 80s with some minimal electro and club-sound-elements coming from an armada of synthesizers. Of course not all of the tracks are my cup of tea, but no matter what, I enjoyed also in those more uplifting ones, with a typical danceable retro vibe, like it's "Sweeter Than This" or the album title track, to name a couple. The best is reserved for the very end and the way too short track named "Minima Moralia". A track with such hypnotizing atmospheric sound and such emotional vocal performance surrounded by ambiental sparkling synths - a real beauty!

Lonely Heroes is an album that captivates with its flow, with the inteligent revival of the new wave sound, its addictive dark atmospheric layers, great production, and unique post-modern sound, which the band called "prism wave". I must also mention the lyrics, which are not something like you may be used to hear in this musical sector, the words are inteligent, gloomy and get easily under your skin. Dear Strange made an album that just calls for many repetitive listens and is highly recommended to all those who are searching for something new in electronic music, for something addictive, yet sensual and in a strange way original.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10