New York and Philly-based quartet present their new single/video, “Wide Awake,” from their highly anticipated new album, Pure Music, out this Friday on Fire Talk. “Wide Awake” is another thrilling glimpse of Strange Ranger’s ever-evolving sonic journey, a full-blown synth-pop anthem featuring vocals from Isaac Eiger and Fiona Woodman. The accompanying video, directed by Lola Dement Myers and shot by Ben Turok, recalls the chic nonchalance of early-aughts pop stardom, with Woodman seen across fisheye malls, escalators, and NYC subways.
“Wide Awake” is the latest on an electric trail of singles: “glitchy” and “unpredictable” (NPR Music) “Rain So Hard,” the “tantalizing” (FADER) “She’s On Fire,” and the “characteristically unclassifiable” (FLOOD) “Way Out.” “I was thinking about these flashes of memory that stick in your head forever,” Eiger says of “Wide Awake,” continuing, “Bursts of senses that return every now and again but don’t lead anywhere beyond themselves like a GIF in your brain. It’s weird to think about what stays with you and if that’s at all related to how important the thing in question was.”
Next month, Strange Ranger will perform a pair of Pure Music release shows at DROM in New York City and Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. The following month, Strange Ranger will embark on a headlining North American tour, including stops in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and more. Full dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now.
Ever since Stranger Ranger hit the house show circuit many years ago, Eiger has returned to a Burial quote from one of his few recorded interviews: “Being on your own listening to headphones is not a million miles away from being in a club surrounded by people. Sometimes you get that feeling like a ghost touched your heart, like someone walks with you.” Though that Burial quote resonates, the songs that make up Pure Music have a pulse so strong they’re practically breathing; not touching your heart, but gripping it. Pure Music is easily the band’s most exciting and ambitious work to date.
Eiger, Woodman, Nathan Tucker, and Fred Nixon recorded Pure Music at a cabin in upstate New York as a blizzard raged outside. The album elucidates the promise of No Light in Heaven, their 2020 mixtape that hinted the band was cocooned in a state of near total transformation. Pure Music emerged from the same sessions, and while No Light in Heaven resembles, in places, bygone iterations of Strange Ranger’s sound, Pure Music was made with so little concern for what anyone might expect of them, as if they were a band without history. Eiger and Woodman sing dual vocals on all songs except for “Blue Shade” and “Ask Me About My Love Life,” which showcase Woodman alongside Nixon. The result is an album that feels out of this time, one that lives in a dimension running parallel to ours.
Pure Music embodies that manic state through interstitial interludes laced with YouTube samples that connect each track to the next so as to submerge the listener in its world, one that rewards catharsis. “Music makes us transcend the feeling of being alienated from or trapped by the world,” Woodman says. “I want the experience of listening to Pure Music to be euphoric.”