Released 9th March
A definite for fans of Passion Pit, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club.
New Band of the Week The Guardian ‘A non-conforming yet instantly recognisable delight’ The Line of Best Fit ‘A Drive-time dream ’I-D
For Minneapolis to NYC transplants Strange Names, the last three years have been those characterised by upward momentum and discovery, the success of their shimmering debut album – 2015’s ‘Use Your Time Wisely,’ – and countless time clocked in front of audiences sharpening the strength of their exuberant live performance. Preceding the release of their inspired and thematic forthcoming album ‘Data’ (out 9th March) on Syd Butler’s Frenchkiss Records,) it’s clear this momentum is only primed to build further.
‘Use Your Time Wisely’ established the band — made up of Liam Benzvi, Francis Ximénez and Fletcher Aleckson — as creators and performers of buoyant and masterful pop songs that were relatable in the ubiquity of their subject matter but also in their fine-spun reverence to precursory (and magnificently danceable) New Wave greats like B-52s, Talking Heads and The Fixx. The band seem to be able to borrow from multiple genre’s with ease, breathing life into past era’s whilst maintaining a unique sound, buzzing with fresh ideas that resonate deeply. On ‘Data,’ these definitive sonic tendencies remain in their purest form, but the soul of the record emerges distinctively amidst a newfound sense of exploration, in both sounds and motif, that bring to light Strange Names’ most daring and realised music to date. Where the danceable, polished pop of its predecessor possessed a dark undertow behind its day-glo sheen, it’s similarly energetic follow up takes a less sinister approach in terms of lyrical content. Written and recorded in Brooklyn and self-produced by the band themselves. ‘Data’ surfaces principally as an album about perspective, boldly conceptualised from the viewpoint of aliens observing human behaviour on earth in a methodical, scientific way, quite transparently, collecting “Data”.
Where their previous record emanated a more sleek and modular sound, ‘Data’ ushers in a more rambunctious, rock-centred audio-aesthetic. Leading with bouncy opener and new single ‘UFO,’ they establish a driving framework that carries through the entire album. After recording, the band spent a week with producer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, The Drums), who did some final mixing, leaving them with a record that’s assured, inventive and unabashedly fun.
Amidst a grim and staggering cultural political zeitgeist, ‘Data’ acknowledges the trivialities of human existence with self-aware humour through dissociation and escapism. “It’s about adding an element of discovery to these things that are very mundane and routine for us,” Benzvi adds. It’s apt; mundane themes like relationship woes can seem miniscule in the grand scheme of current affairs, but by implementing the childlike wonder of a completely (and literally) alien third party analysing them, the narrative becomes compelling and, in Strange Names case, a means by which to thoughtfully and infectiously encapsulate the absurdity and nuance of our reality in 2018 through music.