Music Reviews

Bartees Strange Farm to Table

(4AD) Rating - 7/10

After his breakthrough debut LP Live Forever, Bartees Strange quickly became a paragon of the indie-rock model—a friendly, working-class musician in his early thirties who earned the deserved attention through sheer talent. Despite his genre-averse approach, Strange had written some of the most notable guitar-oriented songs in the genre within an intimate, DIY style. Though he now relies on a band to achieve a fuller musical scope, his overall output in Farm to Table feels distinctly more insular. And who could blame him—his striking personality easily outshines a well-defined “band” oriented sound. There are shades of that side of his work on album opener Heavy Heart, but, for the most part, he follows his own singular beat—whether doubling down with trap-influenced flows (Cosigns), belting out socially conscious confessionals (Hold the Line), or tapping into '90s-inspired soul (Hennessey). Strange provides the blueprint for his many talents on the album—proving his taste knows no bounds—pursuing a scrappy, meandering course that can sometimes lead to rocky, albeit thrilling, dead ends.