4. RAC – Strangers

RAC’s Andre Allen Anjos has been remixing some of our favorite songs into spirited, sunny and slick indie pop songs for over a half decade now. And, if they weren’t our favorite songs before, there’s a good chance Anjos changed our minds. And so, it’s no surprise the talented musician’s debut album (of original material) is as spirited, sunny and slick as his remixes.

With vocal assistance from more than a few well-known acts (Kele of Bloc Party, Penguin Prison, Tegan and Sara, Tokyo Police Club, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, St. Lucia…) Strangers shines like a sunny day on Venice Beach.

In few cases we hear artists outside of their comfort zone (Kele on “Let Go”, Alex Ebert on “Tear You Down”). On the other hand, some of the artists are right at home (Penguin Prison on “Hollywood”, Tegan and Sara on “Hard to Hold”). With so many unique personalities, you’d expect Strangers to sound more like a compilation than a cohesive album, but everything is tied together by Anjos’ production. The same level of care paid to pacing and production that could be found on all of his remixes is evident not only in each individual song, but across the album as a one cohesive musical piece. – Rondeau