Odds and Ends
STRFKR, Portland, Oregon’s indie-electro outfit, have been sitting on a lot of unreleased material. This is the 3rd release of songs from the cutting room floor. Vault Vol. 1 came at the beginning of this year, followed by Vault Vol. 2 in July, giving fans a lot of music to comb over. STRFKR’s last full-length album was 2016’s Being No One, Going Nowhere.
The 19 songs in this installment were taken straight from the group’s leader Joshua Hodges’s hard drive. They range from short ideas to longer, more fleshed out tracks. All of the songs taken together allow listeners more insights on the band’s process and experimentation. The band is known for incorporating samples into their music, such as lectures by philosopher Alan Watts, and more of that is found in this compilation.
Most of these unfinished demos are solely instrumental but Hodges’s does lend his voice and introspective lyrics to a couple tracks. Some of these tracks even came before the STRFKR project began. Even with the unfinished nature of this collection, some intriguing and downright enjoyable tracks stand out. The fresh, upbeat synth work and danceable rhythms make the album a fun listen.
A strong opener, “Shotgun” mixes the sounds of a ringing phone and blasts of light, airy synths. Next up is “Sensitive” where wonky, off-kilter synth tones combine with a straight-ahead rock beat.
The sci-fi inspired tracks “Lunar Sunrise” and “Aliens” use some interesting bleeps and bloops over some samples of a reporter talking about a rocket launch.
STRFKR’s signature brand of synth-pop is noticeable on all the tracks. “Vincent’s Dancer” and “Alaska” feel most reminiscent of STRFKR’s latest releases with the catchy guitar riffs and varied textures.
“Aimee” was a single that was released first and it has all the trappings of a STRFKR track. It’s bouncy electronic elements and big chorus remind listeners of what the band does best.
Vault Vol. 3 is nothing entirely new for listeners of STRFKR but still, it offers a cool look into the band’s creative process and the evolution of their sound over time. Overall, it’s another fun addition to STRFKR’s expanding discography.