by Arielle Mercier
How do we treat ourselves when faced with both internal and external criticisms? Do we all have a different experience with this topic? Editorial You is the second full-length album by the Minneapolis-based two-piece, Strange Relations, and it breaches these relevant questions.
The first dive into the album is crafted as “Evidence” begins, and it displays the overall essence in its 2 minutes and 23 seconds. It can best be described as ethereal in its highs, and somber in its lows. The second track, “Say You”, invokes feelings similar to a synchronized dance. It’s teasing the listener with Casey Sowa’s vocals, and tempting you into the rest of the album. The lyrics introduce the overarching message of ups and downs prevalent in the state of the world today.
The diary rock band consists of Sowa (drums/vocals) and her girlfriend Maro Helgeson (bass/synth). They released their Going Out EP in 2016, which followed their first full-length, Centrism, released in 2015. The newest full-length, Editorial You, feels like reading through a dream journal, piece by piece, following along with the protagonist through their most profound sensitivities.
As you continue through the album, "LIN" and "NBE" both have a darker, more ethereal sound powered by Helgeson’s synth. They’re pulling you into the depths of low self-esteem, and letting the bad guys win for just a moment. The overall dreary or downward pull to the album are most apparent musically in these tracks. At one point, I also have to pause and ask myself if I’m listening to a group that has been influenced in some way by early Tegan & Sara and Garbage.
Sowa and Helgeson put themselves out there as they, and women everywhere, are learning how to defend themselves in a world that has more and more to say about women’s overall place in the world. This grappling feeling of self-worth is demonstrated in the variations of each song.
A track that seems to be a crowd favorite is "Flight Instinct," where Sowa continues a plea to the world, saying, “If I don’t like a truth, is there a way to change it?” What is most impactful in this album is the sneaking confidence that threads each track together. The entire album feels like a push and pull, a true battle with self-love, reminding us all to be extra gentle with ourselves, regardless of the hardships that any of us are facing here and now.