The Fair Shore
As with Aroah’s latest Acuarela release, The Strugglers’ have a abbreviated EP here to bridge the gap between albums. Unlike Aroah’s disc, The Fair Shore actually lowers expectations. “Goodness Gracious,” the opener, might well be the band’s strongest moment ever. Filled with wonder and nostalgia, it’s a softly-wrought ballad of maintaining focus in a confusing world. Coalescing slowly from quiet chords into early autumnal perfection like a blanket of fallen leaves, it makes way for the title track to continue down this crystalline vein.
The final three tracks are like a gust of wind to stir up the pleasant atmosphere ringing in the air. With a more muscular sound for a concerted attempt at barroom rock, it feels like what could be a natural extension of the group’s roots. Unfortunately, singer Brice Randall Bickford II’s slight voice gets lost behind the full drum kit and guitar leads. The loose, jammy grooves of “Bright Day” inexplicably work the best of this uptempo foray, taking its cues from a myriad of southern rock dinosaurs. If this is indeed the direction The Strugglers are moving, hopefully they’ll have time to hone their chops before putting out another full-length. I’d be happier if they were just getting the rock jones out of their system now, while fewer people are listening.