The most recent addition to my ever-growing vinyl collection is the third album, Miracle Mile, of Portland, Oregon’s indie-pop outfit STRFKR. My previous knowledge of the group did not go beyond their anomalous, but charming name (pronounced, excuse my language, “Star Fucker.”) So as any eager vinyl enthusiast would do, I purchased the special edition, 2xLP colored record directly from their label.
As I listened through the first LP, a smashing hunter green disc, I was impressed with their ability to maintain a unique and consistent ambiance. While their electronic mixing is not new to our world of overwhelming synthesized tunes dripping with monotonous beats and repetitive lyrics, they manage to produce a refreshing line-up of retro/funky/airy tunes with the synth they mix into their instrumentals. Using these spunky, peppy, synthesized lines they have created some very well-produced pop songs.
The album opener, titles “While I’m Alive,” is chosen with purpose, and chosen well. This disco worthy track is a wonderful taste of the ready-made party music you will experience in the next fourteen tracks of Miracle Mile.
Opening the second disc, this one pressed on deep mottled magenta vinyl, is “Atlantis.” This is perhaps the best track in the whole line-up. A very upbeat and airy rendition about lonliness and distance, it carries a sense of enthusiasm similar to a rockin MGMT track.
This album is not only for those who want to groove to something on the dance floor with volume blasting; it also suits those who want to listen languorously while reading a novel, or even curl up and fall asleep (as I have done on multiple occasions.) Tracks like “Beach Monster,” with a light mood and a lack of electronics, allow the listener to leave the party lights unplugged.
The bell lap of this Miracle Mile does return to its roots of bubbly, synth pop with the final track, “Nite Rite,” a seven minute, psychedelic, base-infused trip that somehow manages to wind down the album just right. Don’t let my song descriptions contradict the aforementioned, unique and consistent ambiance. The tempo and energy does change throughout the 15 tracks, yet STRFKR brings out a consistent mood from their listener throughout the album.
Miracle Mile is not a only a physically appealing album that is available to purchase this month, but also an aural addition perfect for the ever-expanding music collections of all my pop fans out there. For all of you looking to discover a melodic gem, I highly recommend you dive into this album and get lost in a sea of fist pumping rhythm, quirky excitement, and varietal sensory overload that is sure to be one starfunky ride.