BEST TRACKS: Second Hand, Pink Noise, Cold Comfort
This neo-psychedelia synth-pop band is back on the scene with another smooth, colorful, and transcendental album. STRFKR has always been known for releasing whimsical albums, and I think this one might be their most magical album to date. The band was formed as the solo project of vocalist Joshua Hodges in 2007 in Portland, Oregon, and since then has grown into a full four-piece unit most famous for their insanely energetic, unruly live performances.
This album is characterized by its minimal arrangement and psychedelic funk sound. Future Past Life, is the most futuristic-sounding of any of the STRFKR albums, featuring ample echos, warbles, twinkles, and kazoo-like laser sound effects. I most notably see these elements on the 10th track, ‘Cold Comfort’, and the 3rd track, ‘Deep Dream’. The vocals are very processed, making them smooth, and blend seamlessly with the music as if they were just another synth in the instrumental. Normally, I like vocals to have a level of grit to them, but for this album, I think the soft vocals add to the intended daze-like ambience of the music.
This album feels like a sweet, comforting dream. In addition to the psychedelic themes in the music, the trippy album art helps create an image of an imaginative child’s bedroom.
The focus is largely on the instrumental in this album. The lyrics could be more developed, but if one considers that this album was meant to be easy listening, the vague, slightly generic lyrics do not detract too much from the album’s good qualities.
I recommend this album if you love bands like Electric Light Orchestra, MGMT, and BØRNS.