Though the band’s lineup and sound are in a constant state of fluctuation, Strange Ranger has landed for a brief moment on its How It All Went By EP, an interlude between 2017’s Daymoon and the band’s third album, which has already been recorded and is set for a 2019 release.
Read More: Album Review: Eldren – Miss Information Aged
It is clear on this EP especially that the band takes influence from ’90s rock bands like Oasis and Third Eye Blind; How It All Went By opens with a post-punk “New Hair”, launching straight into painting a picture of apathy with no hesitation, featuring lyrics like, “Sort of staring out the window/Creaky bed/It’s December and do you know/How it all went by?”
There is a thickness and a richness to this EP, despite a touch of intentional lo-fi sound. On “I Want It To Be Dark”, there are just hints of instruments underneath the rocking guitar; what feels like the essence of piano chords pound away, but it is difficult to notice their true power until you are aware of their presence. A similar phenomenon persists in the following track: “The Wires” is lighter and more melancholic, yet this time, the twinkling piano melody near the end is apparent. In this one, too, there is just a hint of a twang; it is enough to make frontman Isaac Eiger’s vocals seem less detached.
In comparison, however, “Remember” is not quite so subtle. The instrumentals are overlapping and drawn out, stretched thin into layers upon layers, and it is dripping with heartbreak as Eiger croons, “Do you think it’s different when you’re torn apart?”. The nuance drops away, however, as Eiger suddenly screams, “Ache/Aren’t memories all the same/Survive in awkward shapes/If only I could be alone and not alone at all.” It is a drastic shift, yet it is one that fits well as the band’s previously gentle vocals are layered on top of the harsh ones.
The five tracks on How It All Went By hit the sweet spot in terms of sound (clocking in between two and five minutes), accessibility (hitting everything between gritty tracks and power pop ones), and timing (giving listeners a brief taste of where the band is going in its third record). The EP was released on Friday, October 12 on Tiny Engines, the same label that will drop Strange Ranger’s third full-length in 2019. In the meantime, check out the EP below.