Strong Struggling State is the music of William Michael John Carroll. Located in Mar Vista, California, he composes and records everything out of his apartment studio he likes to call "Sun Sauna.” His music has been featured in documentaries, ballet performances, indie short films, and podcasts. I Heard You Were On The Moon is his 13th album project as Strong Struggling State, but only now does he feel slightly confident that it's anything possibly worth sharing.
I Heard You Were On The Moon is the type of album that you can live with forever. It grows on you with each listen whether it's next week, or a decade from now! The album is the sound of returning to a musical utopia that you knew at some point, perhaps before birth, but have forgotten over the years--its sublime melodies, albeit bizarre and exotic, are strangely familiar and touching even after the first listen.
At various points throughout, I Heard You Were On The Moon, the conflict between heaviness and beauty or retro and modern, magnifies the universality of the melodies and harmonies. The crunch of the guitars expands the delicacy of the songs while never crushing their impeccable exquisiteness and craftsmanship. And just when you think that the gloriously droning six-strings might be going over the edge, Strong Struggling State’s 60s-styled vocals fly to the rescue. His heavenly retro-pipes deliver indiscernible lyrics that nevertheless contain so much more emotion than conventionally delivered words.
The album is noisy at times, distorted, melodic, grinding, emotional and ambiguous in its roots source. Guitars swirl, layer and bend, while the vocals are used as an added instrument, especially on “Ecstatic Radio” and “Free Mind Society.” Songs like, “Electric Saint”, “Bratta Tatta Too Ta” and “Spaceman” are all at once exciting, sprawling, mesmerizing, haunting and most of all just rewarding; conveying a musical experience which you will currently never hear anywhere else. The album as a whole has a very distinct vibe. It's also one of those albums you either love, loathe or worship but can never simply dismiss.
Through Strong Struggling State the mystical power of 60s and 70s music continues to weave its way through the doors that separate classic from modern and creative from mass-produced. I Heard You Were On The Moon is one of those doors; I urge anyone who loves psychedelic guitar walls, organic percussive rhythms and spellbinding acid vocals to open the doors and embrace this mysterious nine-song soundtrack.
An intense but infinitely rewarding listen awaits the open mind. Absolutely essential to anyone who prefers rock music that hits you on a deep level.
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