Fortuna, the second full length from New Zealand trio Popstrangers, trades the
grunge revivalism of the band’s previous releases for buoyant hooks and ’60s pop. Pairing their minor-key riffs with pervasively melancholic songwriting, the band’s refined sense of melody is on full display on Fortuna, which echoes the classic guitar pop of their homeland’s Flying Nun Records.
Recorded over five days in London, Popstrangers’ warped tales of infatuation and aggression are anchored by Joel Flyger’s tactile vocals, which steep in subterranean effects before ripping clean through the album’s choruses. The band’s pop sensibilities are at their best on standout “Country Kills,” where Flyger shrugs off his looming demise with a wink and an indelible riff. “My country will kill me now, but whatever.” The band is quick to tamper Fortuna‘s catchy strains with atonal guitars and a nervous pace, the record’s building sense of anxiety concluding with the psych comedown of “What’s On Your Mind?”
Eschewing the squalling guitars that propelled their debut album Antipodes for clear-headed production and lush choruses, Popstrangers hit their stride on Fortuna, crystallizing their influences into a succinct record of indie psych that never lingers too long.
Popstrangers is Joel Flyger, Adam Page and David Larson; three native New Zealanders, residing in London, England, who make distinctive off kilter pop music.
The band formed after the three members connected over their shared histories of bad day jobs, a mutual interest in 80’s New Zealand Punk bands and most importantly, a desire to create music with like-minded people. With a name conceived minutes before their first official show, their heavy yet accessible sound has developed to include songs indebted to ‘80s pop, a progression evident on the band’s latest album, Fortuna.
Popstrangers unleashed their early, noisy melodies on two well-received EPs and a full-length, Antipodes, their Carpark debut.
The band have converted listeners into followers at Big Day Out and Rhythm and Vines festivals with their dynamic live show. In addition to playing CMJ, Popstrangers have supported MGMT, Crocodiles, Dinosaur Jr & Wild Nothing on their NZ & Australian tours. The band also found themselves in a strange, and somewhat uncomfortable position; being nominated for the Critics Choice Award at the 2011 NZ Music Awards.
November 2013 saw the release of the Rats In The Palm Trees 7”, which can be seen as a—at least temporary—farewell wave to the hard-driving, punk-influenced, and sonically inimitable sound of Antipodes. On Fortuna, the band takes a step away from the noise. That ferocity isn’t lost though—it’s still felt in the power of the new songs.
Popstrangers’ London move hasn’t been easy, but through that hardship has come new ideas for songwriting. Fortuna is a document of the move and the themes include, love, loss, and the struggles of adapting to new ways.
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• Publicity by Motormouth Media
• College and commercial specialty radio promotion by Terrorbird
• Spring North American tour planned
• Indie exclusive version of 500 clear vinyl LPs
• Music videos in the works
• Vinyl includes free digital download
Indie Exclusive LP: 677517009637
2. Don’t Be Afraid
4. Country Kills
9. Right Babies
10. What’s On Your Mind?