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We were recently sent through details of La Strange, the stage name for Angel Castellani, an Italian rock singer from Northern Italy. Strongly motivated and naturally talented, La Strange has developed a loyal following and finally gotten around to releasing an EP for us to check out! According to the one sheet, ‘the goal was to create arrangements that would retain La Strange’s rock passion but also offer it up in a fresh, innovative and edgy way that would draw the listener into her darkly gothic and romantic soul’. The result – 10 tracks including a Michael Jackson cover – something to check out for sure!

There’s lots of different elements running throughout this album, from the downright rock feeling of Control which is sure to grab your attention and make you want to move, to the more haunting approach of The Perfect Husband, a track which is going to echo around you for days after hearing it. With each influence that you come across, you can’t help but be drawn in, can’t help but listen more – it’s as if there’s a hypnotic quality to the vocals here which penetrate your soul and make you want to be part of everything.

I’m Addicted To Some Thoughts is another highpoint on the album, sound almost industrial in it sound when it opens but once again allowing the vocals to really do the work for you. The vocals almost contrast against the hammering backing track throughout this one, once again drawing you in and having you singing along after a couple of listens. Queen Of Disguise follows much the same pattern, once again opening with an electronic/industrial feel to things before ushering in those angelic vocals once again. Throughout the album you can’t help but want to hear more, just to try and understand a little more the person behind the voice you’re hearing.

For me though, one moment on the album which everyone should hear is Give In To Me, a cover of the Michael Jackson track from his Dangerous album which, at the time, featured Slash on the guitar as well. This was always one of my guilty pleasure tracks which I would listen to from time to time when no one else was around – and now it would appear I wasn’t alone. The version you’ve got here doesn’t just cover the track ,it makes it her own. She takes ownership of the song and turns it into something which a lot of people are going to love when they hear it – it’s got all of the power of the original, yet it sounds fresh and new, the vocals adding in a further level which I quite simply fell in love with as I listened to it, awesome stuff!

As the album came to a close with You Finally Knocked Me Down I found myself just sitting back reflecting on life over the soft piano and vocal combination. This is an album which doesn’t set out to be anything in particular, it just allows the vocals to do all of the talking and creates something which isn’t offensive, isn’t hard to listen to and isn’t pretentious at any point, it’s just a really well put together album. I’m firmly converted to the sound of La Strange’s voice, and look forward to hearing much much more in the future!

It’s only right to close with words from the lady herself:

“When you live for years, hiding constantly behind a mask, at some point you need to express all those feelings that you kept secretly for so long. For some reason you want to, and you need to share your ghosts. Music has always been my favourite way of escape, and I think it's the best vehicle to find balance between reality and dreams.”

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