If Strange Rangers’ ‘Rot Forever’ (recorded under the name Sioux Falls) was a dizzying explosion of anger and frustration, and follow-up ‘Daymoon’ an intimate dawn spent reflecting, then ‘Remembering the Rockets’ is the breezy antithesis; an album of reconciliation and acceptance after the debris has been sifted through.
It sounds gorgeous too, and is a long way removed from the protracted freakouts of ‘Rot Forever’. Instead, it’s all sepia shades cast through a soft focus lens, indebted more to the lilting power-pop of the Lemonheads than the twisted indie of Built To Spill.
Of course, there are still plenty of through lines to be found in the work of Strange Ranger. ‘Remembering The Rockets’ feels just as organic and unfiltered as its predecessors. They’re a band that revels in the long form, and while the run time may have shrunk – only a couple of tracks break the four-minute mark, and ‘Remembering The Rockets’ comes nowhere near the 70-minutes plus investment needed to get through ‘Rot Forever’ – it still possesses the same languid and relaxed – almost conversational – vibe. Here, appropriately enough for an album that finds itself gazing skyward, space is king.
And, amongst it all, there are some gorgeous pop-songs that are perfect for quiet, reflective solitude or for moments where you want to get lost in your own head. The opening salvo of ‘Leona’ and ‘Sunday’ is about as up-tempo as Strange Ranger get these days, but both are delightful lo-fi slacker-pop anthems, while ‘Planes In Front of the Sun’ is the sort of picture-book reminiscence that sinks soul deep.
Just like their nebulous sound, Strange Ranger’s sonic evolution continues to meander and develop in fascinating and intangible ways. ‘Remembering The Rockets’ is a further push of an ever-restless envelope, and a startling pointer for what could come next.