A Classic Education, ‘Hey There Stranger’ (Lefse)
“Classic” is right. The second EP by this unlikely and far-flung alliance between Canadian singer-songwriter Jonathan Clancy and five Italian backup players is the sharpest slice of powerfully amped-up pop rock this side of New Pornographers, with six tracks that pass by in a brisk and highly agreeable 17 minutes. Brief though it is, Hey There Stranger has a lot going on — twangy ambience, spaced-out string arrangements, jingle-jangle guitars (and mandolin), plus songs so sturdy you’d swear you’ve heard ‘em before. You haven’t, but you will.