Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery


Strange Relations – Weeknites (Song Premiere)

strange rlations

Last August, this site had the distinct pleasure of hosting the premiere of Strange Relations’ music video for “Panther’s Conquest” and the differences between that song and their most recent, “Weeknites”, is staggering. While “Panther’s Conquest” was undoubtedly a strong single and a fine piece of work from a band growing comfortable with their footing, “Weeknites” is the sound of a band that knows their strengths and can utilize them to astonishing effect.

The trio still specializes in wiry post-punk that’s as nervy as it is subtle, ultimately revealing a deep kinship to acts like Sonic Youth. It’s something that the best moments of -CENTRISM, the band’s last record, hinted at when it could but never to the extent that it appears here. There’s an emboldened attitude that simultaneously heightens the musical interplay of “Weeknites” while it grounds its narrative. There’s a nervous energy that powers “Weeknites” and draws the listener closer in by conjuring up an air of mystique.

Even as the vocals leap from calculated half-spoken/half-sung whispers to distressed half-screams, the band’s minimalism remains in tact and opens up an incredibly effective chorus. There’s a sultry menace that “Weeknites” alternately hides and brings to the forefront, creating a buoyant sense of unease that goes a long way in establishing the song as something more singular than it may seem at first glance. While “Weeknites” is a curious joy on the first few listens, it does require some investment to realize its full potential; the song’s a meticulously crafted work and that commendable level of effort runs far deeper than the most immediate surface levels.

By the song’s breathtaking final sequence, it’s abundantly clear that the three members of Strange Relations have completely committed themselves to this band. Every facet of “Weeknites” is complementary to the other functions, from the ancillary production to the intuitive drumming, there’s not a single piece that ever threatens to jeopardize the entire operation. Incredibly successful on dynamic, atmospheric, and narrative levels, “Weeknites” marks an exciting new era for Strange Relations. They’ve more than done their part, all that’s left is to wait — and to hope — that larger audiences will follow.

Listen to “Weeknites” below and pre-order Going Out from Tiny Engines here.

Strange Relations – Panther’s Conquest (Music Video Premiere)

strange rlations
Photograph by Kate Essick

Back in March, Strange Relations quietly released the excellent -CENTRISM, a collection of songs teeming with a variety of great influences (indie pop, post-punk, new wave, no wave, hardcore, etc.). It’s an album that deserved greater circulation than it initially received- but, like all great bands that have the tenacity to reach wider platforms- they’re staunchly refusing to be dissuaded by something as trivial as small reception. I’m honored to be hosting the premiere of the music video for the shortest, sharpest, and fiercest song on -CENTRISM, “Panther’s Conquest”.

On -CENTRISM the song feels even more vicious than it does as a standalone piece, thanks to the sequencing choice to have it follow the record’s most gentle moment. Freed of sequential boundaries, the Lewis Wilcox-directed clip is allowed both a freedom and a fierceness that feels intrinsically tied to the spirit of the song. Utilizing striking visuals, great framing, brilliant editing, and a strong turn from Isabel Hendrix in the video’s central role, it plays on an unnerving sense of pulp to great effect.

Intercutting performance footage, cleverly placed snippets of lyrics, an empty, foreboding chair in a parking garage, a photoshoot, and more, “Panther’s Conquest” ultimately comes off as an exploration of personal identity, rendering it an accurate presentation of one of -CENTRISM‘s largest overarching narrative themes. As everything rapidly builds to what feels like may be a horrifying climax, the clip subverts expectations and ends with a different kind of powerful statement. It’s an elegant and graceful punctuation mark that makes the sentiments preceding it even more intriguing. Provocative, thoughtful, and full of beautiful neo-noir touches, it’s not a video to be missed.

Watch “Panter’s Conquest” below and order -CENTRISM here.