We’re all looking for something to pull us out of a pandemic-shaped funk and STRFKR are here to the rescue. Future Past Life is their sixth album to grace our ears since the band’s inception in 2007. Since then, they have moved from their indie-rock beginnings to producing what can only be described as indie-fairy-pop, scattering musical glitter far and wide.
STRFKR began as leader singer Joshua Hodges’ solo project. The band’s last album, 2016’s Being No One, Going Nowhere was an electro delight and their new album is no different. With minimal arranges, simple drum beats and lightly textured synths, Future Past Life injects a little happiness into an ever-worrying world.
Grabbing your listener’s attention is all about creating interesting sounds. By combining both plinking and drone-like synths, STRFKR gently scootches “Sea Foam” into musical existence. Hodges’ voice is somewhat transcendental and contrasts well with the industrial synth. This juxtaposition creates a track that is both relaxing and comes with a heavy dollop of foreboding, for what though, I don’t know. It’s a weirdly trippy track that leaves you wanting just a little bit more.
STRFKR left us wanting more when they released “Budapest” as a stand-alone single back in March. The track is driven by both guitar and drums and keeps to their original sound. However, listening to it within an album setting, it really shines. It sticks out, but not in a bad way. It sounds like something familiar and lo-fi, a perfect choice for an indie film soundtrack. And while STRFKR doesn’t really bring anything new to this track, it sticks with you and lulls you into the album with a sense of security and familiarity.
STRFKR may have mastered their own version of upbeat indie-pop, but they have also mastered the use of musically induced meditation. Floating into the audio landscape, “Cold Comfort” begins with a gentle guitar and even more gentle vocals. Like two arms wrapped around you, this track is like a huge calming hug. With a soft beat and melodic synths, it takes you on a psychedelic journey. What’s more, is that they delve even deeper into the ether, creating a muffled musical concoction that is both relaxing and slightly unnerving. And maybe that is why it’s called “Cold Comfort.”
Sometimes you get an album that demands all of your attention, and sometimes you get a record that just takes it. That’s Future Past Life. It distorts itself back and forth, delves into your subconscious and lulls you into a calming musical trance. After six albums, it seems like STRFKR is moving closer to penning the perfect indie-pop classic but for now, we’ll just have to sit back and relax into Future Past Life instead.