Strange Things hypnotizes with the sounds of ’60s psych

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      Strange Things
      Higher Anxiety (La Ti Da)

      It must’ve been a weird year for Vancouver foursome Strange Things.

      Just a couple of months ago, the band’s name wouldn’t have caused much of a stir, but it’s almost impossible to look at those two words now and not think about Netflix’s supernatural summer smash, Stranger Things.

      It may well be a blessing in disguise, with an innocent typo on Google potentially leading someone scanning for Upside Down conspiracy theories late at night to find out something about the Lower Mainland’s garage-rock scene.

      While the score to the ’80s-set horror drama specializes in haunting synth minimalism, Strange Things’ two-song single for La Ti Da Records hypnotizes with the sounds of ’60s psych. The title of A-side “Higher Anxiety” is a bit of a misnomer, as the track is a relaxing, blue-pill haze of reverberated guitar hooks and “Tomorrow Never Knows” beat work.

      Even though the back end wriggles through a series of distorted, backwards guitar licks, the sonics will spike your serotonin levels.

      The similarly plotted-out “Gather Believers” leaves something to be desired, though. While, on the surface, the B-side also has a love for lock-groove psychedelia and wall-to-wall vocal harmonies, it lacks the effervescent drive of the earlier track.

      It’s almost as if things are darker on the Upside Down of the vinyl single. Strange Things, indeed.