Tin Armor - Strange and Estranged [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tin Armor

Strange and Estranged [7-inch] (2011)

One Percent Press

Just a scant six months after dropping the pretty darn nifty Life of Abundance, Ohio's Tin Armor is already back with a new seven-inch. Strange and Estranging features two more pop songs in the vein of Smoking Popes meets Jackson Browne. Also, it's super good.

"Strange and Estranging" opens with driving drums and an easygoing guitar solo. The vox are clean and pleasant, but the band's sarcasm is a lot clearer here, as they turn a bitter line like "I guess this shit never ends" into a massive hook. The whole song is rollicking fun, but that bridge is still far and away "the good part."

"One Million Shitlists" fills out the flipsdie, and the vocal arrangements have a certain Ben Folds feel to them. Vocalists John and Matt Umland lay out the kind of catchy bitterness that has long been Folds' stock in trade (sample lyric: "I've been on one million shitlists / Remembered that I couldn't find my way off"). Of course, the prominent presence of piano helps make the comparison a lot easier.

This seven-inch is of the short/sweet variety, and it delivers two quite catchy songs without devolving into filler or wankery. As much as I dug Life of Abundance, Strange and Estranging is endlessly replayable. With 2012 setting in, I'm now even more excited and hopeful for another full-length from the group.