On the last track of Strange Ranger’s Sunbeams Through Your Head EP, Isaac Eiger’s voice sounds raw and hollowed-out in a way that it never did on the band’s debut album as Sioux Falls earlier this year. “Love is only as sad as life,” he strains. “I wanna know: Do you still feel honest when you’re crying? Stupid when surviving?” Now with a name change and a pared-down lineup, the Portland-based group’s restraint echoes throughout the songs on their new EP. Gone are the wordy, nostalgic meditations of Rot Forever; in its place are impressionistic and sparse moodpieces. “Whatever you say when the flames finally break/ We’ll be saved/ Push our mouths around this way,” Eiger sings on “Whatever You Say,” a subdued and melancholic highlight that gradually builds to a contemplative finish. The EP sees the band maturing in small but significant ways, and it feels like a stepping stone for whatever is next, a bridge that incorporates softer sounds and flourishes that are sure to coalesce into something even greater next time around. Listen below.
Sunbeams Through Your Head EP is out 9/13. Pre-order it here.