Review: Stray Fossa – ‘With You For Ever’ (A STUNNING LP)

Stray Fossa's 'With You For Ever' full-length is fantastic, from beginning to end. Their debut album is evident of countless hours of jamming and performing together, and allowing each member to contribute holistically.
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You would be hard pressed to find a harder working and more dedicated dream pop band than Stray Fossa. That’s saying a lot because so many artists in this genre work diligently in promoting their music and connecting with others. It’s a welcoming community, and this band is among the top in my mind.

Childhood friend, Zach Blount, joined brothers Will and Nick Evans in a high school band. When they returned from college, they formed Stray Fossa and moved into a house together in Charlottesville, Virginia. Needing a place to record, they converted their attic into a studio, treating it acoustically due to paper thin walls.

During the pandemic, the three of them meandered to the attic studio and worked on their debut full-length. Will Evans produced the album, and the result is phenomenal. With You For Ever is a standout album of 2021 thus far, arguably my favorite.

This is a refreshing album, full of summer songs. The mixing is consistent throughout the album, which is not easy to accomplish when you’re mixing ten tracks. The layers have a light or feathery feel; each layer fits seamlessly without masking the others. The drums a exceptional, sitting so nicely in the mix, treated perfectly. The electric guitar tones have a lot of character, filling the space without overstepping the vocals. Space is carved so the bass and kick are distinct. The vocals are layered, mixing in reverb, slap backs, and chorus, set down in the music while retaining clarity.

Stray Fossa – How Come? (YouTube)

Four music videos tie in brilliantly with the album, two of them released by tastemaker David Dean Burkhart. The band directs and edits their own music videos, recording these quickly before Will left for Europe.

How Come? is the perfect dream pop track. The video compiles clips of the members performing in front of a three panel mirror, splicing them in and out of the segments. This song is blows my mind… the snare, the synthesized organ solo, the vocal delivery, the guitar tones, the moving bass line. I honestly can’t get enough of it.

How come At our best we’re still wrong?
And the second you called
Had me thinking, how come
Getting lost in someone
You don’t see when they’re gone?

Stray Fossa – How Come? (BandCamp)
Stray Fossa – Orange Days (YouTube)

Orange Days is set to Gary Templeton’s The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle (1978). In it a child’s tricycle comes alive when the child takes a few steps away. The tricycle rides through a pizza shop, down the street, and flying over a police car, all to return to the child.

Our time has come
To uncover every answer kept
Beneath the white burn of August
That carries us to bed
What chance to see it through
If the moment falls out from under
And holds a heavy heart
In the open odds of ever landing

Stray Fossa – Orange Days (BandCamp)
Stray Fossa – Best Kind Of Moment (YouTube)

Zach dances on a beach in Best Kind of Moment‘s music video. The video reflects the song well, emphasizing both fleeting care free moments that don’t remain, and ways that we are always changing. “I’ve noticed / You’re not the same / You’ve changed / Time to save some face // It’s the best kind of moment / The kind we love / It’s the best kind of moment / And now it’s gone.”

The video for Hypocrite takes clips and images of older movies, moving together like a collage (the Greek word hypokrites means ‘an actor’). I’m not the best at interpreting songs, but I suspect this song deals with, in a veiled way, a certain significant person of 2020 who impacted us all. Stray Fossa encourages us as a society to: “Put down the guns / Come take a walk / Why don’t you try / To get along? / It’s not that hard / It never was / To be a part / To be someone.” The song itself is a bop!

Stray Fossa – Hypocrite (YouTube)

The entire album is fantastic, from beginning to end. With You For Ever is evident of countless hours of jamming and performing together, and allowing each member to contribute holistically. Put this album on repeat, support this band, and share with your friends.

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Kevin Flick
Kevin Flick

Kevin Flick founded Puddlegum in 1997 and has been engaging in music journalism off and on since. He's also a recording/mixing engineer and loves to help bands work through the creative process. He has coproduced and mixed for artists such as Saeyers, Midi Memory, and Cathedral Bells.

Rumors are that he's a Brighton Hove & Albion FC fan. He's also obsessed with coffee. Kevin resides in the college community of Bloomington, Indiana, where he studied at Indiana University.

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