Strange Names // Use Your Time Wisely [album review]

I first came across Strange Names last year in Philadelphia at a show with fellow Minneapolis band, Carroll.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was blown away by their live set, and couldn't wait to hear more.  The brief songs I saw live stuck with me, I was out of luck they were unreleased, until now.

This week we see the release of Strange Name’s debut full length album, Use Your Time Wisely.    The album is almost like a flash back, something not of this era.  Instead of hitting play on my computer, I feel like I should be popping the cassette into my walkman and dancing along in my leg warmers. 

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Strange Names have found a way to reinvent the wheel and bring us back the new wave/synth-pop of the 80s that we all know and love.  With a sound similar to that of Flock of Seagulls or Simple Minds, they also found a way to add a modern day touch.  Incorporating some harmonies at times, and set to the synth beats, it’s all really something special to experience. 

Strange Names have been teasing followers with several tracks off the album over the last several months.  First released was the highly impressive track ‘Ricochet’, which thankfully was  one of the songs stuck in my head from awhile back.  ‘Ricochet’ gave us a perfect indication of what the rest of the album was going to be like, which is pure awesome.



This album is being released at a perfect time to gear up for summer.  I foresee many road trips ahead that are set to Use Your Time Wisely.  The album provides the perfect upbeat jams we need to bring us into the sunlight and fun times.  With songs like ‘Trespassing’ or ‘I Can’t Control Myself’, which you can’t help but dance to.  Or ‘Supernatural Silence’ or ‘Brick City’ that transport you into another atmosphere.  You also have more rocking songs like 'Only Boy' to bring you out of the 80s vibes, and into something new.

Be on the lookout for Strange Names, because these guys are likely to take off soon.




I Can’t Control Myself

Supernatural Silence

Only Boy

Where & Why



Brick City

Love & Truth (Is There a Place)

Overused Phrase


Words by: Carolyn Lederach