Friday, February 22, 2013

REVIEW: Popstrangers - Antipodes

A listener often has expectations from music.  Albums are written and performed in certain genres, and defined by the artists' style, desires and abilities.  But some works defy expectations and make a mockery of predictions.  In such cases, the listener needs to sit back and accept what comes.  To my ears, such is the music on Antipodes, by Auckland, New Zealand's young Popstrangers.  It tramples over category lines, giving us, for example, bits of alt rock and bits of indie pop.  The sounds are warped and stretched, the tempos altered, the volume ebbs and flows, and riffs contrast with droning and bursts of dissonance.  Atmospherically, the music suggests an isolation or "otherness" not uncommon with music from New Zealand.  And floating in and out of the music are Flyger's teasing lead vocals that can sound a bit unnervingly like Kurt Cobain.  The bones of this music are punk, with perhaps a touch of the classic New Zealand guitar pop.  The finished product has a more than a touch of the boldness that characterized the Pixies best work.  However, this music has too much of this young band's personality and vision to be anchored to one specific reference.

Popstrangers are New Zealanders Joel Flyger, Adam Page and David Larson -- a classic drums, bass and guitar line-up.  They released several singles on Dunedin's famed Flying Nun label, but have chosen Carpark record for their debut LP.  The album is out on February 26.

We have a stream of album track "Heaven" below.  However, unless your computer has good speakers, listen with earphones or you'll miss the textures that make this music special.

You can stream the entire album below --

Carpark Records

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