Four albums in, The Strumbellas may have moved away from waiting by the firelight in their cabin in the woods to gamboling in the spotlight in theatres and beyond, but ubiquitous doubt still haunts their songs and voices continue to caress the darkness in their heads. Doubt and darkness may seem odd for a band whose exuberant single “Spirits” hit number one on Billboard’s Alternative Chart, won a 2017 Juno for Single of the Year and cracked the Top Ten in Europe, but it’s a melodic doubt and darkness which forever stumbles over resilience and optimism.
In fact, The Strumbellas teeter-totter between twilight and hope the same way their songs see-saw between a lone voice nudged by sparse guitar and big, wide-open fleshy choruses that bear-hug audiences and have them singing along to the second verse upon first listen. That’s because The Strumbellas’ songs sport more hooks than a framing store and are guided by tact regarding when to hold and when to fold, such as the use of expressive strings and horns that season without attempting to become the main course. The Strumbellas may be zooming towards the unknown, but we’re invited along, darkness and all, in a jubilant coming together. We’re all still singing around The Strumbellas’ fire in the dark, in the woods, but the fire’s a lot bigger now.