Even though they didn’t make my year-end list, easily one of my favorite bands of 2012 is Ohio’s The Strange Familiar. Their debut release Chasing Shadows has a cozy charm that is easy to like. Vocalist Kira Leyden has a warmness not unlike Colbie Caillat or Schuyler Fisk. Though she veers more towards Sara Bareilles in her range and scale, there’s a honeyed easiness about each of the 12 songs on Chasing Shadows. Buttressed by a phenomenal backing band and air-tight production, there are few if any missteps on the 45 minutes that make up Chasing Shadows. Whether it’s the sturdiness of single “Redemption,” or the cinematic sweep of the gorgeous ballad “Unwanted,” Leyden and Co. have tapped into something truly potent here.

Clearly I’m not the only one who sees something special in the band. Ashlee Simpson recorded the band’s song “invisible” and it successfully charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and Orianthi recorded the band’s song “Courage Is,” where it charted at #37 on the Adult Top 40. In addition to those accolades, the quartet has been featured on the likes of The Vampire Diaries The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Jane By Design, Switched at Birth, Brothers and Sisters, The Biggest Loser, Degrassi, the 19th Wife and Pretty Little Liars. Though it is arguably “soccer mom rock” and veers heavily towards adult contemporary, there’s still something irresistible about this band.

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