STRAY – About Time (2023) *Exclusive*

STRAY - About Time (2023) *Exclusive* - full

STRAY is a legendary English hard rock band formed in London in 1966. The group’s brand of melodic, hook-laden hard rock proved to be a popular draw on the local scene during the early 1970s. While STRAY did not have commercial success with its record releases, they toured with all the rock giants, performed at iconic Reading Festival, and are mentioned as influence by many major stars. It’s worth noting that no less an act than IRON MAIDEN covered the STRAY track ‘All In Your Mind’ as the B-side to the ‘Holy Smoke’ single.
After almost five decades rocking the world and a slew of acclaimed albums and classic rocking songs still faves on rock compilations down through the ages, founder guitarist Del Bromham keeps STRAY’s flame burning with the new album “About Time“.
“About Time” is a standout release packed with pile drivers counterpointed by slower numbers and as always, the dabs of heavy blues and prog that’s long hallmarked the eclectic nature of the band’s output.
This is Classic Rock plenty of timeless guitar riffs, wah wah and melodic solos. Add to that gorgeous clean vocals and a wonderful keyboard / Hammond work reminiscent of Deep Purple, Rainbow and even Uriah Heep.

Despite its rocking nature, the album opens with an acoustic / electric midtempo titled ‘I Am’. It’s Del Bromham’s auto-biographical song with wonderful lyrics about rock n’ roll life – he’s been there since hard rock started – “I am a lion, I am a tiger, I am a rock and roll survivor”. It’s catchy, evocative, and promises a fantastic musical journey ahead.
There’s a regulation big rock wig out on the sing-along chorus of ‘Living The Dream’ before the riff-driven apocalyptic ‘Black Sun’, which veers into a noir filled proggy territory. There’s a typical Stray style change of pace which leads to a big keyboard-led sweep and some intense guitar and organ riffing.

In contrast the idiomatic ‘Blood From A Stone’ opens with a double line riff that might have come from Man’s Endangered Species’ album. The band heads for a big mid-tempo groove and a catchy hook, on one of several fine vocal performances from Del: “Talk is cheap, action’s better, there’s one thing we’ve always known, you can’t get blood from a stone.” The song flows mellifluously and acts as a conduit between the proggy ‘Black Sun’ and the sitar driven Eastern drone and sludgy Eastern Zeppelin influenced ‘Shout’.

There are several moments on this album when a song starts off in one genre and then surprises us with a change of pace or direction. Such is the case with the slow building ‘Sword Of Damocles’, starting with an eerie Mellotron, a rising choral backing and an unexpected staccato organ break, leading to a Zeppelin influenced hypnotic wall of sound.
There’s a Hendrix style wah-wah intro to ‘That Is Not Enough’, another message driven narrative with a curious, but beguiling mix of funky southern rock and soulful influences, while the Golden Earing style power chord and riff-driven ‘Raise Your Hands’ has an anthemic hook.

As said, the Hammond organ inclusion gives “About Time” a unique flavor, reminiscent of bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.
If you’ve been a fan of Stray, this album is a testament to their enduring talent. And if you’re new to their music, we urge you to give “About Time” a listen – this is Classic Rock far from pedestrian, with many twists, variation, and impeccable execution.
Highly Recommended


01 – I Am
02 – Living The Dream
03 – Black Sun
04 – Blood From A Stone
05 – Shout
06 – A Better Day
07 – Sword Of Damocles
08 – Dust In Your Pocket
09 – That Is Not Enough
10 – Raise Your Hands

Del Bromham – vocals, guitars
Pete Dyer – vocals, guitar
Simon Rinaldo – keyboards, Hammond
Colin Kempster – bass
Karl Randall – drums



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2 Responses

  1. edvard kos says:

    Thank you so much.One of my favorite band from the old days.Happy new year…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this ,grew up loving their albums in the seventies.

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