From the New Zealand band's Carpark LP, 'Antipodes'
The initial cacophony that announces the presence of Popstrangers' "What Else Could They Do" is a bit misleading. While we begin with the grit and heft of a grunge-gaze basher, the New Zealand trio quickly lead us toward lilting melody. That's mostly thanks to Joel Flyger, whose strikingly calm delivery contrasts wonderfully with all of that unholy racket that Adam Page and David Larson are making. This is, of course, a hallmark of the Popstrangers sound: that thing that you might call pop couched within hard punk and occasionally unforgiving riffage. It's no wonder then that they're labelmates with Cloud Nothings — both bands understand the strange magic that arises from the right mix of bitter and sweet. The song and video for "Heaven" demonstrated that fairly ably, but this latest offering from the forthcoming Antipodes LP, due out February 26 on Carpark, accomplishes it in spades.