words: Michael Brooks
After last year’s excellent Rot Forever, Strange Ranger (fka Sioux Falls) were catapulted to the top of Portland’s rising scene. The album's sound resulted from a young band throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick, a daring and rewarding listen held together by their proficiency for atmospheric indie rock. “House Show”, the first single from Strange Ranger’s forthcoming album Daymoon, is a welcome leap forward, smoothing out the edges of their previous material without sacrificing any of the things that make them stand out from their peers.
The track is gloomy and despondent to a numbing effect, almost to where you can feel the opening guitar line sucking the joy from your body like a leech. Isaac Eiger’s vocals sound as if they’ve been trapped inside a hazy mist for decades, adding to the mystery and peculiarity of lines like “I thought you talked to the reporter/she had a polka dot recorder”. The spaced out instrumental brings to mind a thunderstorm, the guitars floating on top of everything else like clouds in the night sky and Nathan Tucker’s drum hits mimic rain splashing against the sidewalk. “House Show” is successful by refusing the listener a moment to catch their breath; anxiety-ridden verses trudge along at a sluggish pace only to burst in half by the distorted calamity of the chorus, creating an unmistakable tension the band pulls off with ease.