The hot and sizzling psychedelic prog rock quartet, What Strange Beasts have just released what could very well be considered the premier prog rock album of 2023. This album is chock full of so many incredible facets from guitar work, to singing, to the pounding of the drums, all the way to the thudding of the bass. In between all of that, the album just flows so effortlessly.
What Strange Beasts hail from Washington, but they have their sights set for deep space on their dazzling, sprawling new 26-track album “Starlight’s Castaways”, which will be out on February 3rd, 2023 on all streaming platforms.
I was insanely lucky to get a sneak peak into this album and learn a lot about the band. The band are made up of a group of friends who connect like family. Just like a family, this band tackles deep subject matter and they also come together through their love of science, philosophy and the human predicament with ample emotion and personal touch.
As they stated: “Lyrically and musically, (we) are in sync and collectively setting the controls for the heart of the sun.”
You can hear the passion in every note.
The band also said: “When we write a song, it’s personal. It’s always personal. The characters and concepts in the music are metaphors for emotions we are all experiencing to varying degrees and the stories give us a way forward with those feelings.”
The members all add their own touch to this sound that truly, only they have.
On their seemingly quantum entangled connection, Aaron Kremer says: “The chords for Ocean Glass came to be in response to a long time relationship fading away, and wishing that wasn’t so. While playing it one day in the rehearsal space, Ben started singing words about trying to reconnect with someone, someone not spoken to in a long while. Stopped playing and asked him “How’d you know that’s what this song is about?” “I could tell by the chords you were playing.”
As I started diving into the album, I was instantly reminded of so many great bands. Of course, Rush is at the forefront, and I also understand how worn out that adage may be, but Rush have had such an incredible stronghold on prog rock, that it’s really hard to not be influenced by them or for listeners to hear some very Rush-like undertones.
From the beginning of the album, it sounds incredible. I absolutely loved how the intro was like bringing you into this band’s world. It almost felt like I was scooped up by a UFO and beamed into this brand new dimension that took me on a trip.
The first half of the album just flows so well. They took their time on not just writing the songs, but making sure that the album goes together well, which, in the era of single driven music; this attention to detail is loved and welcomed.
My favorite track on the album is ‘Cat’s Paw,’ because not only do I love cats, but I also love this track. It’s a great dive into the second part of the album that kicks it off very well. It was also picked to be a lead single off of the album and for good reason.
Right before Cat’s Paw, we have another intro-like clip thrown in there to bring us to what I’ll call the “next level” on this album. Again, so many kudos to the band for being so fluent. The album begins with an intro and then has an intro into the second half exactly at track 13 which is half of the album length of 26 tracks.
Having 26 tracks is ambitious. It’s something that isn’t seen in this era too often, but this band did it very well and I highly recommend you to check out this album on February 3rd.