Oct 22, 201410:03 AMReviews
Bleachers Strange Desire
Jack Antonoff formed Steel Train, a New Jersey based band, when he was 18. Not much later, Steel Train got a record deal, but success was short-lived and in 2008 Antonoff abandoned the band to join now super-popular band, fun. While fun. is still together and reportedly currently working on new music, Antonoff found the time to form a side band known as Bleachers. On July 15, 2014, Bleachers released their first album, Strange Desire, on RCA Records.
The album is billed as alternative rock, which is true, but it clearly presents its 80’s pop and synth rock influences. Sonically and lyrically, the album sounds like it would have no problem belonging in an inspirational film about a triumphant underdog. While Strange Desire is full of synthesizers and drum tracks that sound like Tears for Fears, the album branches out and experiments with audio loops and looped synthesizer beats, namely on “You’re Still A Mystery” and “I’m Ready to Move On/Wild Heart Reprise.” Because it is so different and yet fits in so well with the rest of the album, “I’m Ready to Move On/Wild Hearts” is one of my favorite songs on Strange Desire. I was surprised that Yoko Ono is featured on the song, but I’m glad she does because she adds her own uniqueness to create the individuality found in the song.
Lyrically, the theme of surviving and rising about hardships runs throughout the album. “I Wanna Get Better,” the first single, is the best and most obvious example of this. It is an upbeat and motivated cry for self-improvement (“Even if it’s gonna kill me”). “Like a River Runs” allows Antonoff to declare the fight he has in him despite the things he’s been through (“I’m trying hard but I can’t win/And I’ve played the victim for a long long time/And I wanna grow up.” These themes are relatable on a global scale- everyone has something they have to overcome. And with Strange Desire, Jack Antonoff and Bleachers provide the refreshed somewhat modernized 80’s music we need to do it.