Mav Karlo Strangers Like Us Vinyl LP 2020
Produced by Chris Coady (Amen Dunes, Beach House, Future Islands) and recorded at two iconic studios (Sunset Sound in L.A. and Sonic Ranch in the Texas border town of Tornillo), Strangers Like Us marks a departure from the carefree indie-rock of Versteeg's now-defunct band Hollerado. With it's gracefully sparse arrangements, the album centers on Versteeg's lyrical storytelling, revealing a narrative voice deeply attuned to the beauty in the ordinary and routinely overlooked. Despite that stripped-back approach, Strangers Like Us draws incredibly rich texture from Versteeg's delicate melodies and warm vocal work, and from the spirited performances of guest musicians like Katy Goodman of Vivian Girls (on vocals), Charlie Spencer of Dizzy (keys, drums), and Versteeg's Hollerado bandmate Nixon Boyd (guitar, bass). With his first full-length effort, the singer/songwriter otherwise known as Menno Versteeg offers up a much more elaborately realized yet no less intensely intimate body of work. But while Strangers Like Us closely documents an especially tough period in Versteeg's life, the album ultimately arrives at an undeniable courage in it's commitment to truth-telling and unsparing self-examination.