On Stranger Things, Edie Brickell reunites with the New Bohemians for the first time since 1989’s Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars. Surprisingly, the band’s sound feels just as loose and fresh as it did 17 years ago. The faint traces of Southern grit always evident in Brickell’s tart vocals reveal themselves more willingly here than in her previous solo efforts, most notably in breezy rockers like “Oh My Soul,” the kudzu wrapping itself around the edges of the song, lending a slight sandpaper edge to an otherwise unremarkable composition. Perhaps the best thing about Stranger Things is that, in this age of forgive-forget-cash-in reunions, the whole of the album doesn’t feel forced; in other words, Brickell, Brad Houser, John Bush, Brandon Aly, and Kenny Withrow got back into the studio to record because they felt like it, not because an endorsement deal depended upon it. The freedom from expectations and ability to pick up where they left off makes Stranger Things more of an effortless delight than it likely has any right to be. Whether Brickell and the Bohemians will hook up again is anybody’s guess, but this album wouldn’t be the worst legacy they could leave behind.
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