With a selection of new skills, Strange Ranger hone in on ambience with their new offering ‘Pure Music’. Coming only two years after their previous album, the collection of 10 tracks marks a step forward for the band style-wise- and one that ecompasses creativity.
From the very first moments, play is established as a key theme of the album’s make-up. The opener, ‘Rain So Hard’, seems to throw an abundance at the listener, building up the track with layers of drone-like synths, beckoning harmonies and guitar melodies resinant of 80s power ballads. Yet amongst the noise, quiet moments of clarity are still left for the track to collect and scatter. It’s a break that allows for the listener to bask in the sonic backdrop the track offers, if just for a second.
A collection of surprises continue to flex and extend themselves throughout the album’s runtime. The group float between genre, and production styles, product of the groups choice to familiarise themselves with a range of techniques while developing the LP. Tracks like ‘Dream’ begin with lyrics above reverberated chords, and transforms itself into a distorted art-pop number by its end, whereas, the track ‘Fantasy’ melds a range of instrumentation with electronic liminality and isolated vocals as it develops, elevating their established sound to dizzying heights.
However, while every track remains independent of each other, there are some shared qualities that guide the listener through the release. The vocals remain echo-heavy and haunting, notes cutting above the layers of experimentation, and becoming foundational to each track. Lyrics are raw, and often brutal, asking daunting questions outright such as ‘is it worth it to be loved by me?’ Like records musical development, it appears they’ve embraced the emotional aspects of the album wholeheartedly, outpouring honestly throughout its runtime.
With so much to unpack, ‘Pure Music’ can be a lot to take in upon first listen. But over time the album reveals itself to the reacher, providing a new thread to unravel upon each return. What the listener is left with is a collage of sound to get lost in, and a question that Strange Ranger themselves ask a third of the way through the runtime; ‘Is this all happening?’
The new album from Strange Ranger is out via Fire Talk on July 21st. Pre Order ‘Pure Music’ here.
The new issue of So Young is out now. Grab a copy in print here or read the digital edition below.