Stranger Days by Skegss
By Ron Powers
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, spring has sprung, flowers have bloomed, and great music is being created. This time of year brings so much new life with it and I recently found some of that life in a happy ballad called “Stranger Days” by Australian Indie rockers Skegss. This song offers the perfect amount of emotion and inspiration without sounding cheesy. Skegss delivers a clean yet tough sound with garage-rock imperfection that allows the soul of the song to shine through.
No time is wasted in getting straight to the verse of “Stranger Days”. The first thing we hear is a shuffle rhythm and chord progression performed with a clean electric guitar and acoustic guitar. These two elements combine to create a smooth yet bracing texture for the melancholy yet sunny feeling topline. Singer Ben Reed delivers the relatable lines, “Stranger days will keep on comin’ / My brain’s changed but it’s still runnin’ / I get fazed and in the end it’s nothin’”.
Next Skegss shifts from the airy open textures of the verse to a tight and thumping pre-chorus. Here we have a simple arrangement of palm-muted guitar chords with bass guitar following the chord roots with an eighth note rhythm. Drummer Jonny Lani completes the musical arrangement with a simple beat that mixes with the bass to create a head-bobbing groove with just the right amount of tension. Despite the high contrast between the verse and pre-chorus musical arrangements, the vocal melody maintains the emotional flow and shifts seamlessly between sections allowing for a dynamic experience without jolting the listener. As the pre-chorus draws to a close singer Ben Reed delivers the line “and may your dreams never die”. The last syllable of this line is sustained and carried on into the chorus.
For the chorus of “Stranger Days”, Skegss offers an uplifting and expansive feeling that simply makes you feel good. The vocal melody actually bears a striking resemblance to the main title music for the Christmas movie Elf starring Will Faral. I’m not sure if this was an intentional move by the Skegss, but either way, it works well for the song. Musically the chorus consists of open guitar chords played with the same rhythm pattern as the verse. Synth strings and piano notes combined and follow the melody of the top line adding to the jubilant sound. Additionally, bass and drums work together to maintain a beefy groove without drawing too much attention away from the melodic feeling.
Skegss will be in the US in April of 2022 to play a few shows. One writer describes their live show as “mesmerizing”, and others describe their concerts as something that approaches a Dionysian religious experience. For tour dates and tickets you can visit their website at skegss.com. If you’d like to learn more about Skegss you can find them on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’d like to listen to “Stranger Days”, or any of Skegss other music, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent