Don't Be Afraid
What's On Your Mind?
Recorded over five days in London, Fortuna is a major statement of change for the New Zealand group Popstrangers. Having left their homeland to seek greater fortune in the U.K., Popstrangers opted to lose the ‘90s grunge affectations of their debut release, Antipodes, for quirkier, rockier terrain; their new sound recalls the New Zealand indie rock label Flying Nun’s type of ‘60s-influenced guitar pop. “Sandstorm” immediately recalls the charms of The Chills and The Verlaines. “Distress” has a dense, nearly lo-fi jangle pop worthy of the U.K.'s Cleaners from Venus. The bassline stalks the guitar line of “Country Kills” until everything shimmers for the brief chorus. A somber mood permeates “Violet,” where Joel Flyger’s vocals are buried in a mix of effects. “Tonight” tightly strums like a late-‘80s alt-rock band, while “Destine” features a flanged and chorused guitar that also dates back to the ‘80s. If it turned out that this album wasn't made by a current band but rather was a newly found cassette of an ‘80s home-studio pop project, it'd make all the sense in the world.