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If there’s anything that STRFKR has dedicated themselves to throughout their career, it’s being the antithesis of what their name suggests. Founded on irony and expanded through creativity, Joshua Hodges and co. find themselves six albums in since 2008’s explicitly eponymous debut, returning after four years with Future Past Life. With meldings abound of indie-pop and 60s psychedelic flavor among other dynamic mashups, the Portland fivesome couldn’t have picked a better title.
The album opens with “Dear Stranger”, a mesmerizing collision of Circa Waves and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles with Lennon at the helm. “Never The Same” scales the soundscape down to equally entrancing minimalism, with “Deep Dream” trailing off and gliding smoothly across a sea of synth and phaser. “Second Hand”, the most A E S T H E T I C track out of any on the album, grooves like a son of a bitch and embodies the word vibes like few other songs can while “Better Together” scraps the drums and peacefully floats in space, a bastion of blissful lethargy.
“Budapest”, featuring Shy Boys continues the grooves and electro-acoustic audio tripping, replete with breathy, hooky harmonies to driving its captivating essence home. The brief “Palm Reader” downsizes to bare essentials again before jumping into the straight-ahead “Sea Foam”, moving from there to the voluminous wall of sound that is “Pink Noise”. Rounding it all out is “Cold Comfort”, a slow, cumulative build of all of the album’s sonic components leading to a disintegrating climax, giving way to a free-falling void. A fitting, life-like ending, that; building to the peak, playing with the elements, then at once blowing apart and returning to whence it came.
While Future Past Life is by no means the record you put on to get yourself up and motivated in the morning, it’s a perfect record to put on, unwind, and well, stay home too- because what are we really gonna do? STRFKR, untrue to its name but ever so invested in its craft has shown its great grasp of the unique indie-psychedelia brand that takes a prominent place among the many sounds of the independent landscape coming out of today’s musical universe today. It’ll be a pleasure to see where they’ll travel next.
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