With last year’s Going Out EP, St. Paul, Minnesota’s Strange Relations created the perfect narrative of faded neon signs and corkscrewed cigarette smoke. Casey Sowa’s lyrics poured over compositions that played like eerie reveries. “Ceremonies” was one of our favorite songs of the year: the band – Sowa, Maro Helgeson, and Nate Hart-Andersen – created a tangible symposium of nighttime images: the blanched billiard cloth of old pool tables, the slinking ebb of top 40 hits, and the superimposed ring marks from shot glasses. There is a sense of conviction in the resignation.
“Maria Sweet”, released this month, sees Strange Relations operate with deliberate urgency, carbonation, and ineffable infatuation. On the single, Casey Sowa’s delivery is cooler than Cate Blanchett drinking a trio of martinis. Cooler than an ice sculpture of Isabelle Huppert. Cooler than — basically, Sowa is in complete control on this two-minute track. Backed by a dichotomy of hiccuping instrumentation and sudden bursts of colorful discord, “Maria Sweet” is the perfect single: Undaunted, darkly temerarious, and humorously self-aware. Strange Relations is the truth.