Treat Her Strangely
There is a small number of musical artists out there who can provide a never-ending stream of songs which are brand new yet instantly recognizable, hooks and catchy bits that are so immediately familiar that you have to marvel that they haven’t been put into the popular song canon decades ago. Allan Vest, who led the cool and sparkling Starlight Mints for a decade of earworms at the turn of the century and now makes one half of doubleVee, is a good example.
Treat Her Strangely is doubleVee’s third collection of songs, and it continues the trajectory of showcasing this ability of Vest’s while adding some unique and often moody cinematic elements, most likely coming from doubleVee’s other half, Barb Vest (nee Hendrickson), who produced the syndicated radio show Filmscapes for almost a decade. The opening “When Dawn Comes Tonight,” which yields the album’s title from its chorus, lays out the cards and explains the rules — this isn’t quite the sugar pop and neon colors you may have come to expect, and by the time we get to “Your Love Is It Real?” about two-thirds of the way through the album, we are deep in some introspective territory.
The album closes out with “Matador Bell,” a reworking of an early Starlight Mints tune, and the riding-off-into-the sunset vibes of “The Question’s Closed.” Throughout, we are presented with string sections and other orchestral embellishments that reward the careful listener. This attention to detail means that while Treat Her Strangely is perfectly fine playing in the background with its strains and warbles syncing in your brain to make you hum and tap along, it’s really something that you can focus your headphones on, peeling away a new layer on every listen.