Three years in the making, this is the solo debut of Huntington Beach boy, Laurens Vernot, who gets right down to business on the opening, title track, a chunky, driving, guitar strummer with hooks aplenty from the traditional old school AOR school of rock. It also hints at influences from 90s guitar rock revivalists, R.E.M. Vernot?s multi-part harmonies and full production belies the fact that this is predominently the work of one man (Leo Vigil contributes wall-rattling drums) and you will easily forget that you are not listening to a full-fledged rock and roll band! Hence, the decision to release the album under a pseudo band name rather than his own was an intelligent marketing move.
The spirit of Warren Zevon (with the throaty warbling of H?sker D?-era Bob Mould) hovers over ?Back Here Again,? and big fat power chords (think Russ Ballard fronting Boston announce ?Let It Go On.? But then Vernot tosses us a curve by singing the lyrics with one of his meekest deliveries. Side two kicks off with the country-flavored soft rocker, ?Better Off At Home? that occupies the musical headspace between the two 70s? duos that contained the Seals brothers, [Jim] Seals & Crofts and England Dan [Seals] & John Ford Coley.
?April & October? expands the boundaries of the typipcal May-to-September summer romance and treads in the same lyrical territory as Paul Simon?s ?April Come She Will.? Vernot?s multi-tracked harmonies are particularly impressive on this soft rocker that fondly recalls both the Seals brothers and everyone?s favorite 70?s soft rockers, America.
A gentle reminder of how much fun we had growing up listening to 70?s album rock stations, ?Strangeway? is the perfect anachronism that suggests that there are indeed a few artists out there who do ?write ?em like they used to? and Laurens Vernot is comfortably perched atop that list. 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak (23 October, 2006)