Album review: STRFKR “Miracle Mile”

by Magda Rucinski

They’ve come a long way since their lo-fi beginnings. Portland, Oregon’s pop darlings Starfucker, stylized as STRFKR, have just released their fourth full-length album, Miracle Mile.

The album arrives in the successful wake of 2008 self-titled debut, polished dance record Jupiter, and 2011’s Reptilians. After some shuffling around in the band line-up and brief experimental name changes (fan-snubbed PYRAMID and then Pyramiddd), STRFKR seems to have found a formula that works. While the band members dabble with various instruments, current roll call is frontman Josh Hodges, bass player Shawn Glassford, drummer Keil Corcoran, and guitarist Patrick Morris, formerly of Portland cult favorite Strength.  Miracle Mile represents a collaborative band effort – a bona fide band album, maybe.

After all, it’s the product of a hiatus the band spent writing and recording songs in a quaint Oregon Coast town. Sounds romantic, although the album’s more on the brooding side with cheery synthpop overtones. Single “While I’m Alive” starts off the album with a rhythmic electropop bang. Like the opening track, the other songs on Miracle Mile weave signature whispery vocals atop catchy beats, with standout tracks including “Sazed” and “Isea.” True to genre, STRFKR’s appeal remains its danceability rather than lyrics, which are a hushed background to the synth beats throughout this album.

Miracle Mile might not be STRFKR’s most powerful record, but is it dance-friendly? Heck yeah. Will it please fans at STRFKR’s live shows? No doubt. Is the album worth buying on vinyl? Choose your own adventure.