Bartees Strange’s ‘Farm to Table’ Takes Genre Fluid to a New Level


Bartees Strange is no stranger to drastic life transitions – he grew up in Oklahoma and later thrived in Washington, DC, receiving formal vocal training as a youth and eventually opening for artists such as Phoebe Bridgers. The name of Strange’s new album, From farm to tablecelebrate change.

“I used to work on a farm in Oklahoma and grew up among working people. Like all my family, sharecroppers, farmers down to my parents,” Strange said in an interview. with Zane Lowe for Apple Music “Now I kind of find myself at the table with all these people that I looked up to.”

On the album‘s fourth track, “Cosigns,” which was released as a single in April, Strange mentions some of those artists he’s worked with. “I’m in Chi-Town, I’m with Lucy, just got the tampon / Hit up Courtney, that’s my Aussie, I’m already stan / I’m on FaceTime, I’m with Justin, we already friends. “ Lucy as Lucy Dacus, Courtney as Courtney Barnett, and Justin as Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.

When I first heard “Cosigns” it brought a change of pace to my first impression of Strange, which I had only experienced listening to “Boomer” on a loop from his first full album. Live forever.

The shift from indie rock to stable electro-pop gave me hope in the versatility and genre-bending I might see in Strange’s new 10-track, 34-minute album – and it held its own. promises.

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From farm to tableThe electronic journey of is a brief passage but begins with new wave synths in the second track “Mulholland Dr.” Strange also seems to try his hand at some tasteful auto-tuning around the second verse with a kind of chant-chant-rap.

Strange eventually goes completely into the void in the next track, “Wretched”, a song disguised as a sad love ballad – in reality, it’s an upbeat dance jam with every chorus. There’s a lot of preparation, but after the first chorus you can’t wait for the next one and dance your heart out. It’s one of those songs that you know would light up the crowd when played live. Although Strange commits himself more fully to electronic music on this album, he doesn’t stray much from his previous indie rock and singer-songwriter themes found on live forever. These were particularly strong in From farm to tableThe respective opening and closing tracks of, the nostalgic “Heavy Heart” and the more emotional “Hennessy”.

[Review: The Head and the Heart’s latest album is another uplifting staple]

Honorable mention goes to “Escape This Circus”, which doesn’t necessarily make me feel like a carny but more like a space cowboy taking off after the heavy punk rock outro.

Strange’s refusal to stick to a single genre throughout his discography and for the entirety of From farm to table shows he didn’t have a box to get out of in the first place. He will continue to be a artist to watch from now on, keeping you on your toes waiting for his next experience.

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