Besides the three part Vault series of B-sides and rarities tracks, STRFKR hasn’t released an album since 2016.
However, on Thursday, April 4th, STRFKR graced the world with yet another indie rock, synth pop, “psychedelic-lite” album of lively tunes.
If there’s one thing STRFKR knows how to do, it’s starting off an album with a song that will be remembered. Especially seen in their previous LP, Being No One, Going Nowhere, the album starts out groovy and upbeat with their song “Tape Machine”, which is a track they frequently open their shows with because of its memorable sound. This technique is also utilized in the opening of Future Past Life. “Dear Stranger” is my personal favorite song off the album—a tune that starts off with that classic dreamy and transcendental STRFKR sound, a catchy guitar riff and melody, and a voice whose lyrics you don’t totally understand (but love nonetheless).
STRFKR is a band centered around touring and live performances, and a STRFKR show is not one that can be forgotten easily. With casual crossdressing by the performers, mesmerizing lights and visuals, and that iconic trio of dancing astronauts, the gig generally is a perfect visual representation of their music from start to finish. This upcoming tour would allow for a whole new and second experience of Future Past Life since they add new elements of visuals to the experience. This spring and summer, the band anticipated to go on yet another tour around the US, but given the current state of the country due to the COVID-19 virus, the tour was postponed.
Although the band will be unable to create the live sensation and representation of their new album through their performance this spring, they still certainly express their art through the music video for “Deep Dream”. The whimsical video, which is full of beautiful nature shots and interesting camera angles, depicts the story of a park ranger wandering through a snowy forest in search of a mysterious man in a bathrobe. The bizarre plot structure of the video is similar to what one typically experiences in a dream, consistent with the feel of the album and the title of the song.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=topgwvp9Uik[/embedyt]
While the album has quintessential upbeat STRFKR tunes, there are some slower tracks to keep the pace changing as well. Calmer tracks on the album include “Better Together,” “Palm Reader,” and “Sea Foam”. One theme held throughout the entire album that’s a common motif for all STRFKR albums is the feeling of otherworldliness. Each song takes you away from the realm you’re currently in and launches you into an outer space full of melancholy yet pleasant and often exhilarating sounds. You float along through each song until the track “Cold Comfort” slowly bring you back down to Earth.
The album also features the fellow PolyVinyl-signed band Shy Boys, on the single, “Budapest.” The track certainly allowed the indie-pop Kansas City group to demonstrate their typical use of harmonies and treble-heavy electric guitars, and boosted the upbeat nature of STRFKR’s music on this track.
Over the years, STRFKR has maintained consistency of sound, and is a band that its fans can rely on for releasing music with spacey tunes that never grow old. As a long time STRFKR fan, I’ve always been unable to decide which album is my top pick, and Future Past Life will certainly be added into my indecisive and never-ending internal debate on which STRFKR album is best.
Much of Future Past Life is also featured on one of KCPR’s carefully curated playlists, Bloom. Give Bloom a listen if you’d like to further get lost in space and daydream to some soft and squishy tunes.
Maya Avendano is a Cal Poly Environment Management and Protection Sophomore and KCPR staff member. Image credit to STRFKR.