Back in 2016, Sioux Falls released their critically revered debut ‘Rot Forever’, an album whose runtime clocked in at around 70 minutes. The influences were clear, with traces of Weezer, Modest Mouse and Brand New. Now, the band are back, with a shiny new name and stripped back sound.
Strange Ranger are the now two-piece indie-rock combo based in Portland, Oregon. The change from a trio to a duo definitely shows, as ‘Daymoon’ displays a more simplistic approach. As a result, the band have produced an emotionally deeper album, with the sparsity of the tracks lending itself to the sadness. The track ‘Hydration Is Key’ carries this effect particularly well, with a wind-like synth track running in the background, making the song sound cavernous.
‘Sophie’ is the most experimental song on offer, with an electronic drum track and a cello/double bass throughout. It can be a jarring listen the first time round but is perhaps the best cut from the whole release. It ignores any punk elements the pair have incorporated previously, and gives the true feeling of the album being on display.
Despite this, ‘Daymoon’ isn’t without its flaws. Sometimes the sound can be a little too all over the place. A record shouldn’t sound all the same, by any means, but here Strange Ranger sometimes seem to be unsure of what they want to sound like. For a band that manage to expertly produce content in each ‘genre’ they experiment with, it can lead to a frustrating listen when the sound constantly switches. However, with 15 tracks to choose from, this is much less of a problem than it initially seems, with each style the band utilises having enough songs to fill an EP.
There’s definitely a lot more in store from Strange Ranger. The duo produce a mature sound, one of a band that knows precisely what they’re doing and where they’re taking it.
‘Daymoon by Strange Ranger is out now on Tiny Engines.
Words by Ben Mills (@BenMills28)