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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

The Strange Valentines Release 'Burning House Waltz'

Contemporary Canadiana folk duo The Strange Valentines released a new single ‘Burning House Waltz’ on December 31st, the last day of 2020 as cataclysmic affront to the year. The single was released digitally and fairly quietly in the landscape of plague world.

The Strange Valentines are noted for their unique blend of contemporary folk drawn from Australian rock (David Farrell) and Nova Scotia folk (Janet Mills). Using two voices and acoustic instruments, they sound somewhere between Gillian Welch, The Milk Carton Kids, and the Waifs. Various iterations of guitar, mandolin, piano, bouzouki, and tight blended voices tell tales from deepest heartbreak to pitchfork-like angst against corporate greed in their connective live shows.

Since releasing album ‘Forks’ amid pandemic catastrophe April of 2020, things have changed significantly for The Strange Valentines. At the time this song was written, it was a semi-lockdown situation in Nova Scotia with touring dead and gigs cancelled, it seemed a new bleak world. In the small community of River John there was lot of time for reflection on fairly important topics for the planet and how little attention it seems those important things really get. They watched as the planet actually started to heal as everyone stayed home. They watched the smog drift away from cities, the animals come out of hiding, and some rebound in population. Who would have thought?

The Burning House Waltz is a reflection of the consequences of our distracted lives. While humans have been busier than ever (at least up until the plague) working towards their continually escalating goals, the world has been suffering. As much as many of us think we care about the important environmental issues that are wreaking havoc on our beloved planet, the reality is that many of us humans are so busy keeping the pace up on own personal treadmills, that we barely give it a glance other than remembering our re-useable shopping bags when we go out, or maybe separating our home recycling. What else could any one person really do anyway?

No matter. The Burning House Waltz is a dance for humans, unaware as they are, of the destruction around them, they dance the dance. It’s got an old time-y feel, with acoustic guitar and slightly demonic mandolin, captivating sweet harmonies, and a melody that lulls you in, as you fall into the surreal story of complacence that largely dominates our human lives.

The song was produced by David Farrell in Feral Studios. In keeping with the sentiment of the song, the production of the waltz is basically live on the floor, with minimal processing and additions.

Scott Wolbaum, also known as ‘The Accomplice’, of Regina, Saskatchewan, took the song for a drive. He interpreted and constructed a psychedelic, somewhat surreal video to go with the song. During the four or so minutes length of the song, his artistic creation sweeps one into a somewhat nightmarish dimension to the sentiments of the song.






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