Bostonian by way of Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Dietrich Strause is back with a remarkable new album, How Cruel That Hunger Binds. Strause has a musical catalog that is filled with songs that call to mind the elegant pop standards of the 1950’s, a quality that is even more pronounced on his latest outing.
How Cruel That Hunger Binds is filled with magical soundscapes, from the swooning pop of “Around the World” to the ambient folk of “The Beast That Rolls Within.” The production is heavily nuanced with theatrical arrangements accentuated by woodwinds and Strause’s trumpet.
He writes with a highly literary pen, using language that is as thoughtful as it is refined. “I don’t care for roses, petal or thorn, forget me nots in a passing storm,” he sings on the sprightly “So Long So Far,” a song of faded love. “I used to know your name and color of eyes, it’s not I can’t remember it’s just now I don’t try,” he continues before admitting, “I don’t call, I don’t ask if your dreams are coming true, I don’t care to wonder but it’s all I do.”
Strause has planned something special for his upcoming album release show, to be held at the Oberon Theater in Cambridge, MA this coming Thursday (info). Perhaps taking a cue from the Beyonce and Frank Ocean playbook, has hand-crafted a series of videos to accompany the songs on How Cruel That Hunger Binds. The videos are filled with images that he culled from vintage public domain commercials, documentaries and other sources. These videos will provide a visual accompaniment as the band performs the songs live at the album release show.
Twangville is pleased to premiere one of these videos, for one of our fave tracks “Lying in Your Arms.” See below for the video as well as Strause’s entertaining explanation of the song’s origin.
Want to see the rest of the videos? Come on out to Oberon this Thursday.
The spark for this song came from an unhealthy relationship I have with puns. It was midnight, and I was driving home from playing a show with Joan Osborne in Northampton, MA. Going 70mph over a hill, in a snow storm, my car completely shut off; lights, breaks, steering. No more power. I drifted to the bottom of the hill and stopped on the side of the road and called AAA. A snowy December night, in a broken down car along the side of the highway, with no heat. The only extra clothing I had in my trunk was a lion costume from Halloween. I put it on and shivered until the tow came. It took three hours. When he finally found me, without a word exchanged, I got out of my car and climbed into the cab of his truck, tail and mane. I got towed back to Northampton where luckily my friend Miss Tess happened to also be staying. She picked me up in her band’s van and I slept on the floor of an office that night. When you’re wearing a lion costume shivering in your car, with “What If God Was One of Us” stuck in your head, you start to wonder where it all went wrong.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.