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Boomkat Product Review:
New Jersey guitarist, singer and songwriter Mike Strallow has long been a respected member of the New York underground and the contributing personnel on this debut album confirms that: on The Sky Behind The Sea you'll find supporting players from White Magic, Oakley Hall, Anthony & The Johnsons, and even violinist for hire Samara Lubelski. You'll find plenty of praise for Strallow's guitar playing from his contemporaries and fellow scenesters, but significantly he holds back on the axemanship in favour of sounds that serve the flow of the songs themselves. On this album you'll hear echoes of Wooden Wand and Simon Joyner alongside full-bodied band arrangements - a luxury few debuting songwriters are able to command, but Strallow uses this resource wisely, creating a detailed and dynamic album structure that frames his compositions within a sophisticated but loose-fitting shell. Strallow's languid, drawling vocals exhibit a similar level of down-and-out elegance as Jonathan Fire*Eater's Stewart Lupton on pieces like 'Love's Not Yours' and 'My Love For You Is All But Gone' and the lyrical quality far exceeds the sort of middling expectations you're likely to hold for a first-timer. The Sky Behind The Sea marks a promising start to a solo career worth keeping an eye on.