There is a lightness in ‘Stories You Tell Yourself’ that gives wings to a series of delicate and intricate songs filled with Strangely Enough‘s Greg Olley’s glorious voice and celestial melodies. Infused with just a touch of jazz expression, more in the free flowing architecture, these songs are evocative gems that glitter and entrance. The structures and melodies in the vocals bring to mind Gene or The Smiths – no slavish following of standard verse, chord, verse and middle eight break structures but rather little vignettes or snapshots or beautiful moments in time. Olley says of the debut EP:
When I’m writing a song it becomes like a little world that I inhabit for a while. I try to write honest things that I think are true about myself or the world around me and when I strike on something I like I stick to it and repeat it over and over. The title for the EP is kind of a reminder to myself that no matter how many times I sing these songs or repeat these ideas, they’re just stories I tell myself. Just ideas in my own head about myself and the world I live in.
Opening track ‘Long Time Coming’ kicks of with a bubbling, rippling instrumentation over which Olley’s voice glides seamlessly. It’s a liquid, flowing tune with a twisted string-based interlude and a euphoric ascension. Directed by Joseph Burgess, the accompanying video perfectly catches the viscosity of the sound in images:
‘Are You More’ starts with a glitchy tone before accelerating with a hair-raising pace and a muscular walking bass line. Again, Olley’s voice is extraordinary – melodic, smooth, melancholy. The vocals soar, cajole, entreat: filled with emotion and a glittering tone.
This is followed by the laid-back almost jazzy chords and reflective aura of ‘Hush’: a fitting aural bed for the yearning vocals and the indelible melody.
The EP ends with the more vibrant ‘I Want To Know’ with its fuzzy bass and funky guitar: it’s cool, it’s louche, it’s sensual. It makes you want to slip into something more comfortable, turn the lights down low and boogie with a rich velvet glass of red from the Coonawarra.
‘Stories You Tell Yourself’ is a dramatic, theatrical indulgent pleasure that is rich and evocative and deeply satisfying. You can download/stream here and listen below:
Strangely Enough is having a couple of live shows in Melbourne and Brisbane in early July – full details and tickets here.
Strangely Enough is the appellation of the Melbourne/Brisbane-based multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer, Greg Olley.
Feature Photograph: Michael Gill