Welcome to a new edition of "For The Record." The Denmark-born band Straw’s newest disc proves “Family Matters” ...literally. For those readers not yet in the know, Straw (a.k.a. Straw Family) is literally a family band consisting of four singer-songwriters who create multi-genre music. Specifically, the band roster features Carsten Fabricius (guitar and vocals), his wife Henriette Lykke Fabricius (lead vocals and guitar) and their daughters -- vocalists Sally and Denise. They are backed by son-in-law/Denise’s husband Frederik Nordvang (guitar), Helge Solberg (bass), and Carsten Milner (drums).

"Family Matters" is a 10-track album of the band’s music which includes lyrics that are often universal in their message and a signature sound that is both familial and fluid. Indeed, while critics and disc jockeys sometimes struggle to label them, the truth is the band’s signature sound is a melange of multiple music genres including (but not necessarily limited to) country, folk, pop, rock, and the blues. A couple of critics compare their overall audio offerings as sounding like the family that lives next door (Maybe, if you live next door to the later season "Brady Bunch" or the "Partridge Family").

Track by track

The majority of their material is co-composed by Mom and Dad Henriette and Carsten.

The album opener, however, is a song written by daughter Denise. It’s titled “Alive” and is a humorous, tuneful tale of her life which despite difficulties remains joyful.

With vocals vaguely reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton performing at some dirt road, backwater honky tonk, “1965” is a song that focuses on the moment when one becomes an adult and the realizations it entails.

It’s followed by “Hot Sunny Day” which is a media-ready summer song that concerns missing someone special. “It’s Cold Outside,” the appropriately-placed next number, is both a seasonal selection about a winter’s eve in Swedish cabin and a musical metaphor about a lost love.

The energetic “Bang Bang,” which has an accompanying music video, a fun, effective audio about an unlucky lady who has had enough and decides to make changes.

Things slow down a bit with Sally’s “Spider Making New Web.” It’s a pretty love ballad about a first love and life.

“I Hope,” another slow, pretty piece, centers on change, self-improvement, and appreciating friends and family. And speaking of friends and family, “Family And Friends” follows. It’s pretty much “as advertised.” Complete with noteworthy vocal harmonies and guitar, it is a tuneful tribute track to close relationships.

Perhaps one of the best cuts on the album, “To A Higher Place” again demonstrates what the band can do in a song about what’s truly important in life. The closing cut is the mood-driven “Dreaming.” Not to be confused with the Blondie track from 1979, this is another original song.

It reflects upon the experience of looking back on a difficult time in one’s life.

Overall, the album is a collection of material that is personal and comes from the heart. The band’s signature sound is both fluid and effective. Their message is universal and they make it sound like they’re having fun.

So check out Straw’s ‘Family Matters and it just might make you feel 'Alive’