Portland's princes of synth pop Starfucker released their second full-length album--and first with new label Polyvinyl--today. It's called Reptilians, and it's a deliciously lush record, alive with smooth grooves, twinkling and heavy-hitting synths, spiraling keyboard loops, and washes of hazy vocals. The band's dance-centric elements are still here, only in a cooler and subtler way--nothing is insistent, nothing's being thrown in your face.
Reptilians' lyrical content is purportedly centered around death, following the passing of frontman Josh Hodges' grandmother, but there's nothing dragging or depressing about the music--it's buoyant and vivacious; a hopeful outlook appears to be prevailing. Or, as a voiceover early in the album puts it, "consider[ing] death . . . To observe scowls and skeletons, and to wonder what it would be like to go to sleep and never wake up. Never. That is a very gloomy thing for contemplation, but, it's like manure. Just as manure fertilizes the plants and so on, so the contemplation of death and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creative life. You'll get wonderful things out of that."
By now, fans have heard Reptilians' ultra-sleek lead single, "Julius," which was released as a 7-inch single last fall. The album's second single is the psychedelically effervescent "Bury Us Alive." If you need to preview Reptilians before purchasing, both singles are available for free download on Polyvinyl's website right now. (The pleasantly droning "Astoria" and the chanting, infectious "Death as a Fetish" are also album highlights).
Starfucker's joining the myriad of bands heading to Austin for SXSW next week; Seattle's next chance to see them live is next month, when they'll play an all-ages show at the Vera Project on April 23 and a 21+ show at the Crocodile on April 26, both with their good friends Champagne Champagne.