A Classic Education, 'Hey There Stranger' (Lefse)

Hey There Stranger
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Label: Lefse

by David Menconi

"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.

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