2. In Some Ways
3. Witches Hand
4. What Else Could They Do
5. Cat’s Eyes
6. Full Fat
8. Roy Brown
Popstrangers are Joel Flyger, Adam Page and David Larson, three native New Zealanders who make “pop” music that’s hard-driving, punk-influenced and sonically inimitable. After releasing several singles on fabled New Zealand label Flying Nun, the band arrives with their debut album Antipodes. Recorded in the basement of a 1930’s dancehall, Popstrangers’ first full-length features dissonant, claustrophobic melodies, anchored by the languid affectations of Flyger’s vocals, that bring a vintage feel to their decidedly contemporary garage rock. Channeling early Radiohead and kiwi indie bands of yore like the Gordons, 3Ds and the Chills, Antipodes further develops the band’s nuanced, distorted “pop” created and cultivated from years spent honing their craft live.
Antipodes begins with a wavering chord from a classic rock organ in “Jane,” over which the band layers gently oscillating bass, a razor-sharp guitar riff and the faintest hint of a tambourine, until the song rotates on its axis with the introduction of Flyger’s shadowy vocals enveloped in noise. Popstrangers revel in this conflict, playing with dynamics and tempo to whip their droning melodies and tightly wound riffs into utter frenzy. Antipodes‘ storm breaks for “Heaven,” a song that contrasts Flyger’s moody lyrics about imprisonment and escape with a serotonin hit of snappy guitars and infectious hooks. Drawing the album to a close is seven minutes of slow-burner “Occasions,” anchored by a murky bassline that eases the album to its end. Antipodes operates within a claustrophobic world of depression, captivity and dark matters of the heart, but Popstrangers anchor their debut LP’s hazy gloom with earnest anticipation for contentment.
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.