Label Independent

 CD 52mins

Progressive Rock with Pop sensibilities

Rating 90/100

Such descriptions or historical information issued by representatives of the band or even the band themselves when issuing a Bio can be trite confusing or even, in some cases a trite misleading.  A particular case in mind is the write up provided to accompany the debut album from Seattle based outfit ‘What Strange Beasts’ with emphasis on the term ‘Glam Rock’.  Certainly the term ‘Glam Rock,’ albeit somewhat loosely used, very nearly shifted their album ‘The Maestro’s Tale’ from the ’to be reviewed pile’ into the reject pile. OK, not a very nice way to filter out or reject music for review,  but with so much new music on the scene impressions gained from label information is often the first step in constructing a play/review list. Anyway, further progression in reading the bio highlighted the name of the keyboardist ‘Benjamin Ruby’ which struck a chord. Something about him being a classical pianist made me sit up and take note and subsequently listen to the album.  And I’m so very pleased I did because it is a superb album indeed.

The Maestro’s Tale is an album full of fun and adventure riddled with superbly crafted songs submerged with beautifully worked out instrumentation. In addition, the tight vocal arrangements are a real joy and grace the ears with wonderful choir-like three and four-part harmonies.  It is very clear, even at the first listening stage, that an enormous amount of work has been invested in getting the arrangements spot on and the integration of every facet of the performance perfectly and seamlessly organised. The entire affair is just so professionally executed, wonderful classical piano, superbly considered guitar throughout, adventurous bass and fine drumming. The delightfully engineered vocals though really make this band stand out with gorgeous harmonious contributions of descanted voice, so beautifully worked out.

The range of music to is rather like a trip back through time covering many aspects of pop, rock, psyche and with consideration aimed towards bands like the Strawbs, The Cars,  CSN&Y, BGs and so many more and with arrangements even exploring some complex Eastern flavours’.

A really superb album that flows with all-around excellence smothered in musical diversity and with much emphasis on the gorgeous vocal aspects. Just under an hour of delightful music that never disappoints and certainly whets your appetite for further future releases.


Renton. WA quartet What Strange Beasts charge headlong into the maximal on their debut LP The Maestro’s Tale.

Influences for the album:

Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Bob Mould

Track Suggestions: Up In The Air, The Field, You Are Lost

Band Line-Up:

Aaron Kremer – Bass, Vocals

Benjamin Ruby – Keyboard, Vocals Cat – Guitar

? Lead Guitar

Jonathan Maxwell – Drums, Vocals

CD Track Listing

1-            Dear Maestro

2-            Sublimation

3-            Up In The Air

4-            Junkyard

5-            You Are Lost

6-            Rainsong

7-            Antidote

8-            Debris

9-            The Field

10-          Crater

11-          Onslaught

12-          Long Grass

13-          Venom

14-          68 Camino

15-          Eyes On The Road

16-          Drift

17-          Precipitation