Fortuna by Popstrangers on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded over five days in London, Fortuna is a major statement of change for the New Zealand group Popstrangers. Having left their homeland to seek greater fortune in the U.K., Popstrangers opted to lose the ‘90s grunge affectations of their debut release, Antipodes, for quirkier, rockier terrain; their new sound recalls the New Zealand indie rock label Flying Nun’s type of ‘60s-influenced guitar pop. “Sandstorm” immediately recalls the charms of The Chills and The Verlaines. “Distress” has a dense, nearly lo-fi jangle pop worthy of the U.K.'s Cleaners from Venus. The bassline stalks the guitar line of “Country Kills” until everything shimmers for the brief chorus. A somber mood permeates “Violet,” where Joel Flyger’s vocals are buried in a mix of effects. “Tonight” tightly strums like a late-‘80s alt-rock band, while “Destine” features a flanged and chorused guitar that also dates back to the ‘80s. If it turned out that this album wasn't made by a current band but rather was a newly found cassette of an ‘80s home-studio pop project, it'd make all the sense in the world.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded over five days in London, Fortuna is a major statement of change for the New Zealand group Popstrangers. Having left their homeland to seek greater fortune in the U.K., Popstrangers opted to lose the ‘90s grunge affectations of their debut release, Antipodes, for quirkier, rockier terrain; their new sound recalls the New Zealand indie rock label Flying Nun’s type of ‘60s-influenced guitar pop. “Sandstorm” immediately recalls the charms of The Chills and The Verlaines. “Distress” has a dense, nearly lo-fi jangle pop worthy of the U.K.'s Cleaners from Venus. The bassline stalks the guitar line of “Country Kills” until everything shimmers for the brief chorus. A somber mood permeates “Violet,” where Joel Flyger’s vocals are buried in a mix of effects. “Tonight” tightly strums like a late-‘80s alt-rock band, while “Destine” features a flanged and chorused guitar that also dates back to the ‘80s. If it turned out that this album wasn't made by a current band but rather was a newly found cassette of an ‘80s home-studio pop project, it'd make all the sense in the world.

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About Popstrangers

Originally hailing from Wellington, New Zealand, Popstrangers make brash yet melodic music that nods not only to the heyday of their homeland's Flying Nun label, but to alt-rock legends like the Pixies and Nirvana. The band formed in 2009 when singer/guitarist Joel Flyger, bassist Adam Page, and founding drummer Elliott Rawson met through mutual friends and bonded over their love of bands including Sonic Youth and the Gordons. That September, they released a self-titled EP as well as a split 7" with Collapsing Cities, both of which showed off Popstrangers' volatile mix of hooks and noise. The following year's Happy Accidents EP, which introduced drummer Jimmy Mac, displayed a more muscular version of their sound.

In 2011, the band was nominated for the Critics Choice Award at that year's NZ Music Awards (the prize eventually went to Kimbra). Early in 2013, the trio -- now featuring drummer David Larson -- released their full-length debut Antipodes on Carpark Records. The group relocated to London, and the growing pains they experienced inspired Popstrangers' moody, psychedelic second album Fortuna, which arrived in mid-2014. ~ Heather Phares

  • ORIGIN
    Auckland New Zealand

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