On their latest single, John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers don’t do anything by the book. Park Bench gives shoegaze the potential to fill stadiums, casting the genre into a new realm.
Deep vocals, even deeper lyrics, and sheer synth-conjured energy. It’s a well-worn cliche to say that a band is unforgettable, but for John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers, this phrase rings utterly true.
Listen to any second of their latest single Park Bench and you’ll understand where we’re coming from. Blues, alt-rock, and shoegaze blended into harmony, the Sydney four-piece are molding genre into the perfect conduit for their introspective lyricism. With a bass line to blow you away and riffs that will melt your heart, the group have officially carved their way into the teaming world of music.
Since their 2018 debut, the boys from the Northern Beaches have been serving nothing but brooding dreamscapes, electrifying beats, and existentialist philosophies. Blend this all together and you have the John Lawrie special: songs that leave you crying on the dancefloor.
“I used to think this park bench was a tombstone so I wasn’t alone,” Lawrie sings as the track opens. Lyrically, Park Bench is high-quality poetry, conjuring lush imagery and speaking to an unspoken agony inside us all. But, sonically is where the track really shines.
The only thing I could possibly compare it to is if Johnny Hunter whipped out a microKORG and decided to give ’80s dream-pop a good crack. It’s a sonic so unique that you need to listen to it a few times to fully appreciate what the group have achieved.
Glistening with synth, Park Bench is a shoegaze masterpiece from the moment it begins: sparkling and weaving through melody all while grounded to earth by its thundering bass line. Enter John Lawrie’s brooding vocals and you quickly realise that this isn’t your typical ‘80s adjacent track.
From start to finish, Park Bench is immaculate, a triumph of production and sonic value. If this is what John Lawrie & The Welcome Strangers are capable of, it looks like there’s no stopping them.
Check out the track below: