Band of the Day

2011.09.30

STRFKR

An electro-pop foursome with sparkly synth hooks and a folk soul
Picture your body, hearing your voice, fall into your eyes.
Lyrics From Julius

Difficult to categorize in one genre, Portland, Oregon band STRFKR play indie pop music influenced by synth, house and electro. The group formed in 2007 by frontman Joshua Hodges as a solo departure from his previous indie band Sexton Blake. After experiencing an increase in hype in the Portland scene, Hodges recruited Ryan Biornstad (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Shawn Glassford (bass, keyboard) and Keil Corcoran (drums, keyboards) for live shows. STRFKR received their first break in 2008 when their song “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” was used in a Target commercial. The group is noted for changing their name three times and occasionally (to the delight of their girlfriends) playing in drag.

STRFKR have released six albums in the form of singles, EPs and LPs since their musical birth in 2007. Portland-based Badman Recording Co. released the group's debut LP in 2008 as well as their Jupiter EP in 2009. In 2011, the Reptilians LP was released on Polyvinyl Records.

STRFKR is a Portland, Oregon electro-pop foursome expert in crafting sparkly synthesizer hooks and rousing choruses. The project began when multi-instrumentalist Josh Hodges decided he needed a break from his band Sexton Blake, a melancholy solo effort much loved in Portland, and closer to rainy hero Elliott Smith than Daft Punk. STRFKR began as a chance for Hodges to stretch out and play fun dance music at house parties, and people loved the playful and childlike tunes with their melancholy undercurrents carried over from Sexton Blake. STRFKR are at their best banging out electro-dance anthems with big choruses, and their sophomore album Reptilians isn't lacking . "Bury Us Alive" starts like a Cars song with its muted guitar chords and steady beat, adding crystal synths and Hodges' signature hushed vocals. Pretty soon the chorus hits, adding a surprisingly awesome midi horn line as Hodges feigns uncaring, singing "Oh...bury us alive." "Millions" is basically one massive electro-pop hook, twinkling and gurgling video game synths wrapped around Hodges’ gloomy repetition of the line "I love to see you crying, so happy when you're sad." The song sounds like a celebration of childhood tempered by the melancholy fact that they'll never again have as few worries as they did hunched over an N64 controller with friends, coaxing Yoshi's Kart over the finish line. The foursome shows they aren't a one-trick pony with mellower tracks like "Reptilians," a folky guitar-based ditty that sounds closer to the Decemberists than MGMT, and the psychedelia-meets-easygoing hip hop beat of “Hungry Ghosts.” “Born” is heaped with Flaming Lips influence: happily jingly acoustic guitars frolic with beeping synthesizers and crunchy drums. Listening to Hodges repeatedly sigh "Simple life, I want a simple life," in “Astoria,” buried behind bouncing synths and a yearning organ, you think, this is surprisingly wistful music for a dance band. It's true, STRFKR strikes a delicate balance between happy and sad, energetic and subdued, and it's a great mix.