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  Another Day To Start Again
Artist: Strange Occurrence
Label: Steelroots Records/Flicker Records
Time: 11 tracks / 48:35

Strange Occurrence is a new band out of Seattle whose debut, Another Day To Start Again, contains some excellent straight-up rock. The band makes use of a strong sense of melody, without sacrificing the gritty vocals and guitars that will endear them to the rock crowd.

On first listen, Strange Occurrence grabs your attention with a couple of radio-ready rockers, "Reach" and "Runaway." The latter features some deft guitar work and a chorus that slams a hook down your throatóbut in a good way. Upon future spins, the songs take on personalities of their own, from the driving rock of "Mask Me" and "Dark Matter" to the still-electric but slowed-down grooves on "Fear" and "Inside," which opens softly and builds to a driving climax. In keeping with the albumís tone, even the few ballads have bursts of guitar grit once in a while. The album is only marred by the pale end of "Prisoner," which goes on and on with no payoff, and the last song is an acoustic version of "Sunshine" that serves only as filler and clashes with the rest of the album.

Their press materials compare Strange Occurrence to both Pearl Jam and The Calling, among others, and thatís pretty accurate. They donít fall into the rap-rock cliché and arenít afraid to temper their sound for the youth-group crowd. Another Day To Start Again is simply well-played, refreshingly soulful rock that will be in my CD player for quite a while.

John Wilson 8/5/2002

They were voted one of the top 25 unsigned bands in 7 Ball magazine in 2001. But not anymore since the band have signed with the small indie label Steelroots Records. From Charlotte, North Carolina, Strange Occurrence have released their debut label album with a view to securing mainstream and Christian market interest in the band's music. And so far so good!

The opening salvo of "Sunrise" and the single "Reach" set the tone for the whole album with plenty of riffing guitars and strong melodies to create a powerful rock treat that immediately arrests the attention. It's also immediately apparent that 'Another Day To Start Again' is pretty blatantly spiritual with an agenda to create anthemic soul lifting rock'n'roll and to that purpose the band are successful. 

Singer TJ Harris is on record saying " We want people to forget the stereotypes that are placed upon Christianity. Being a Christian starts in your heart. Change comes from God, to give you hope and comfort. God loves you just as you are right now." Consequently, there is little argument that the band are wanting to see spiritual fruit from the music they make and with the success of other bands in the mainstream who are pursuing a spiritual dimension for their music, the time might be right for Strange Occurrence.

There are plenty of songs that encourage the message of the album's title. The album's opener "Sunrise" is itself a metaphor for that fresh start and "Runaway" again brings a picture of a changed spiritual life moving someone from black and white to full Technicolor. But it isn't all optimistic. There are some darker moments on the album, most notably "Inside" which was written after a friend of the band committed suicide. Some of the lyrics actually come from the guy's suicide note! I know it sounds gruesome but the song is powerfully moving.

So compelling rock is the name of the game here with plenty of guitar power and soaring strong vocals which will appeal to fans of bands like Pearl Jam, Pillar, Kutless and even Third Day. Although there is little here that smacks of extensive originality, the band do what they do extremely well and look set to establish themselves as a popular outfit. 

Mike Rimmer 9/14/2002



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