Portland’s The Estranged has gone through a stark transformation over the past few years. After starting out as a group of grim-lipped, punk-rock agitators, the band has settled into something far more rich on its upcoming, self-titled full-length. As heard on the song “Fatalist Flaw”—which is getting its North American debut here—the album is less of a study in angst and angles and more of a lush, romantic take on spiky post-punk. In other words, the kind of thing The Cure and Echo And The Bunnymen specialized in early on in their careers. Not that there isn’t still a prickly punk heart to The Estranged; now, though, the band’s attack is wrapped in swirling atmosphere, a heartsick croon, and an ear for mood-soaked melody.
The Estranged will be released March 18 via Dirtnap.