8/10 Clinton Staff review, 29 May 2014
You know that feeling when you like a bit of guitar so much that you just want to stop and cuddle it.....well the opening few seconds on this second album by Australia’s Popstrangers have me waiting with my arms outstretched. Its a swirling, churning four note figure that reminds me of something early 80’s, Cleaners for Venus maybe, or The Chills or something equally dark and eerie. Cass McCombs has used such a plangent sound early in his career too. The song itself, ‘Sandstorm’, is good though it does seem to get a bit lost and trip over its tail a little as it hurtles towards its finale.
Now, those of you with memories better than a fish will remember this lots debut last year jam full of skewed guitar pop. This is slightly more laid back, slightly less raucous but still...as they say....good. ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ continues the murky 80’s New Zealand feel bringing a slab of Deerhunter into the equation. ‘Distress’ ups the pace, belting along at breakneck speed providing a soupcon of Sonic Youth as it blazes its trail. I love the guitars on this record, whether they are slightly detuned or played by men with funny fingers they are never less than interesting - guitars moving sideways (as someone once said) and even when they are playing it straight as on ‘Country Kills’ its still somehow skewed out of focus. You should hear the chorus on this little bugger, its like opening the car door into an oncoming blast of wind and rain. Fabulous.
The second half of the record does tail off slightly and veers towards Chameleons/Interpol style swampy rock at times. I don’t think its as good as the first album and certain sections go past without incident but even on its less inspired moments its tremendously affecting eerie slacker rock music.
7/10 LT Customer review, 4th June 2014
I know it probably doesn't matter to anyone beyond the Antipodean vicinity, but minor correction please - they're Kiwis, not Aussies! (which may make that Chills comparison even more apt).
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