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We Were Strangers, the new project from Manchester based singer songwriter Stefan Melbourne, have so far not wanted to rush us with any of their songs. With each release there has been a calculated and restrained feel, spacious but controlled, they gradually unfurl into their form. That’s not to say that they are slow or emotionless, there is always a feeling of an unreleased energy present within them waiting to break forth, but it is held back and allowed to be presented to us in another way, a measured and reserved power that is in itself as impressive as any of the unleashed energy could be, like a dam holding back a barrage of water that could crack at any moment, yet miraculously doesn’t.

‘Unforgiving War’ is the newest offering from the outfit, and it may present the strongest example of this stored energy yet. For the first half of the song it is so stripped back that we are given barely any backing for the rich vocals, with the occasional strum of a guitar, such an atmosphere is created that you really can take on the rawness of the songs subject. There is a slight release in the middle of the song as drums and guitar pick up, but throughout the section it remains somewhat demure, with the intensity of the story being told, reflected musically as a back drop to the tale. Then as soon as it has started the outburst is reined back in as the song plays out as it came in.

Simply Described by Melbourne as being about “a journey and things coming to end” the story of ‘Unforgiving War’ is left pretty much open for the listener to interpret, but I’m sure you’re not going to mind putting it on repeat a few times to work it out.

Words by Richard Anderson

Tipped by Chris Horkan from Hey Manchester

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