With every passing year it seems rock music distances itself further from the passion and energy of its foundations. The genre’s contemporary champions wend into evermore-diluted territories, and that classic punch of rock seems a little more rare with time.
To this admittedly jaded palate, The Changing Score is refreshing. The four-track EP from Chicagoan trio Model Stranger is an enchanting blend of classic rock and the dreamy ethos of contemporary alternative, introducing the band as much more than just a passing dose of rock n’ roll nostalgia. If there is anything to be gleaned from songs like “Stalemate” and “Stare (I Want You To),” it is the impeccable way Model Stranger executes a wholly unique sound while still maintaining that unadulterated tone of classic rock.
The latter of the two kicks the EP off with the perfect amalgam of elements, showing exactly what it is Model Stranger is up to with this, the band’s second release. “Stare (I Want You To)” is entrancing and groovy without being antiquated, like a lovechild of psychedelia and Ours. Vincent Joseph on drums gives the song a tribal pulse that resonates from the eardrums to the ribcage, wildly concussive and energetic, and everything else follows suit, Kevin James and Stephen Francis playing bass and guitar/vocals respectively to greet the listener like a choir of hallucinogenic angels. Of note, the vocal range Francis utilizes here, soaring and mesmerizing.
This tone of groove-pulsed Americana threads The Changing Score‘s four tracks, and it is evident that Model Stranger is a band with eyes set on refinement. Stephen Francis’ voice is not wasted on the band’s compositions, crooning darkly on “Stalemate” and “That’s the Way It Goes,” falling somewhere between Ville Valo, Jimmy Gnecco and Lenny Kravitz. There’s a Gothic rock sensuality in his voice, and it is served well by the band’s night-vibrant undercurrents.
When all is said and done, Model Stranger is just great music. The Changing Score is endlessly enjoyable, and more than enough reason to keep an ear on this Chicagoan secret.
Model Stranger is currently on tour in support of The Changing Score, which can be purchased from the band’s website.