Drifting in to my consciousness this week came the debut album from Polish gazers Strangers In My House. This enigmatic four piece from Kraków have released three singles and an EP since forming in 2019. Leave It Undefined is their first long player and looks to develop on that dreamy, shoegaze sound to something all their own. Strangers In My House are Jakub Kurek (Guitar), Jakub Zając (Guitar), Magdalena Radecka (Vocals), Bartosz Pałka (Drums) and Agnieszka Ryczek (Bass).
I asked the band how the album tracks differ to what they’ve released to date.
“Our new album is definitely stronger in sound, contains more contrasts and has a slightly psychedelic vibe. One of the songs on the album is a re(recorded and improved song from 2019 called “Words”, from which our band’s adventure began.”
So on to adventures new and the opening track, ‘Sweet Relief’. A pulsing guitar and driving drums welcome us to the album. That psychedelic vibe is immediately evident and lends the song a gloriously spacious atmosphere. The vocals seem more in focus or sharper in the mix than what I’ve heard previously. This song is a statement of intent and sets the bar high for the rest of the album.
We move into the reworked ‘Words’ next. My god, this song really kicks in hard now. Where the original floated along on dreamy tones this time guitars are dialled up to eleven. The vocals are superb. Delivered with power and an assured confidence. This feels like a whole new song. Amazing!
Last year’s single ‘Clouds’ is next reworked for the album release. It’s signature chiming guitar motif carrying and lifting the melody working as a foil to Radecka’s beguiling vocal delivery. I particularly love the middle eight break down, it includes some really lovely guitar textures.
There’s an utterly exceptional intro to ‘Undefined’ next. The band erupting into action over the acrobatic vocals and sympathetic harmonies. The ethereal atmosphere in this song is skilfully maintained through the minimal guitar parts and choral harmonies. You can tell why the band picked this as their title track and centre point for the whole album.
The guitars really amp up the fuzz in ‘Rush Controlled’ letting us see another side to their song writing. This song really moves, everything has such a dynamic attack from the drums double timing the ride cymbal to the feedback flourishes in the verses. I can imagine that this will give rise to many a moshpit when played live.
‘Silver Nights’ brings a psychedelic edge back to proceedings. I particularly love the vocal effects here lending a ghostly counter to Ryczeks ever stunning delivery. The lead guitar works as a musical response to the lyrics. I found myself thinking of Siouxsie Sioux during this number, high praise indeed.
‘Destination Point’ is what I’d call a real “Wow track”. The drums are incredible here, absolutely dominating the sound stage with their skipping counter rhythm. The verses are a joyous skip through a sunny day before the bells chime and ground us back to reality. This is some really clever song construction not to mention the skilful production choices. This is my album stand out track.
The album closes out with ‘Roads to Nowhere’. The pulsing guitar being the engine propelling this song along. There’s a nice use of light and shade, loud and quiet to keep your ears happy. This is one song that you just need to surrender to. Let it wash over you, surrender your senses and let it reveal is multi-layered majesty.
With Leave It Undefined, Strangers In My House have created a instant favourite for me. The songs, whilst being immediate and easy to love, are carefully layered to reward repeat listens. I must also call out the vocals on this album. Remember the name Magdalena Radecka as I believe she will be spoken about in the same breath as Rachel Goswell, Miki Berenyi and Bilinda Butcher in years to come. Just a powerhouse of a performance in every song.
You can grab a copy of Leave It Undefined over on Strangers In My House Bandcamp page.
Follow Strangers In My House on social media here to find out about the CD release…
Pics by Melchior Santos
Graphics by Luiza Niemczuk