It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for post-punk, the way the atmospheric haze can settle in across these bright while slightly fuzzed guitar lines just taps into something inside of me. Minnesota’s Strange Relations are one of the top acts in this field today with their latest record being released in September under Tiny Engines, teasing the album with the single “Say You”. With their interpersonal lyric structure to their disjointed melodies, duo Casey Sowa and Maro Helgeson create a dreamy landscape that pulls at the listener with gentle fingers that will occasionally shake you out of submission. This is not some placated attempt at a vintage sound that ends up drowning in its own mundane version of nostalgia, but instead something wholly unique. It’s interesting, odd, and collectively beautiful.
What snags at me immediately is the opening bass rhythm with its fractured yet smooth style that Helgeson makes almost danceable. Sowa’s vocals rise above the track with such an intimate quality that you could imagine her singing in front of her mirror clutching a hairbrush. Not everything in “Say You” remains stagnant in its. pop overtones. There are moments of excited drumming and spaced-out chords that ring off with grating distortion, but they primarily settle for a cleaner melody that’s played in this off-kilter fashion that fits together so well that I can’t help but keep mentioning it, which acts as a great lead into the hornet’s nest of cymbals nearing the end.
Editorial You is due out on 09/08 from Tiny Engines and is available for pre-order here.