This surprise ‘drop out of the sky’ release by STRFKR feels like a perfectly weighted gift to divert our minds from these troubling times. Whilst no more than a pleasant coincidence, Future Past Life immediately feels like a 35-minute transportation to something vital and fun.
Dear Stranger opens out with a sun dazed groove graffitied with neon squiggles. The thick production confirms within seconds that this track is here to stay. Halfway, the tune gently warps itself in pleasantly flanged lopsided knots. The sparser strumming of Never the Same has that similar overall tape dragging sheen as before.
Deep Dream surges in and 3 tracks in, it feels like Portland’s STRFKR can do this with their eyes closed. Another bouncing, kaleidoscopic layered groove that’s encrusted with psych touches and studio flourishes – a total joy.
The next track Second Hand dips too far into pop somehow for our ears, but the balance is superbly restored in the fragmented hymnal drift of Better Together. Its bleariness slowly climbing to a wonkily saturated peak.
STRFKR often seem to be described as electro pop and perhaps this album sits at the very edge of what we’d generally gravitate towards at OBLADADA. As the album moves into its last third, that blend of psych studio touches and pop structures continues to tumble forth. Parts of their universe point towards Tame Impala and at the same time, at any given moment, we could fall through the floor into a hypnagogic Gary War style vortex.
Budapest, Sea Foam and Pink Noise are bright twisted pop gems, whilst Palm Reader and the closer Cold Comfort are darker and sprinkled with a sense of the kosmic. The last 3 minutes of Cold Comfort opens out into a zero-gravity float over the night sky that perfectly showcases how many distinct zones this 3-piece are keen to weave together.
Future Past Life is littered with superb wobbly psychedelic pop gems and whilst it’s perhaps a tiny bit uneven overall, it’s an album that’s been played a surprisingly huge amount in these last few weeks. Several times, numerous tracks opening up pleasant little wormholes that have transported us if only momentarily from all this horrible shite to somewhere very pleasant indeed. And that seems to make this album somehow completely vital.
Future Past Life is out today on Polyvinyl Record Company, get it here