I give Hey Stranger credit for playing early-90s-era third-wave ska, a music subgenre that is probably as cool and timely today as disco. Hey Stranger are also sweet-natured, midtempo, and nerdy. They have a likeable feel; if you ran into them on the street, they’d probably give you a hand with your groceries or help you move some furniture.
Only problem is that they aren’t good. Poor sound quality doesn’t help the squeaky horns that always sound slightly out of tandem with each other. Vocals are weak, shaky, and whiter than ghost sperm – kind of like a cross between the dudes from Umbrella Bed and Step Lively, only less bearable.
The songwriting is halfway there with good structures (just needs more polish and hooks). The guitarwork is a little dull, but it’s clean and plucky, like Oolooloo-era Pietasters. Hey Stranger has potential but it’s a long way to go.
Bottom Line: Youthful but weak third wave.
Notable Tracks: Bitch and Rhyme