“Stranger Still” is a fitting track name for music from an artist like Scandal. Aside from his crazy ideas (like his dream of founding a secret Tunnel Society) or his persona (which he strives to be Frank Sinatra on acid), he cultivates a deep love and appreciation for all things strange.

Scandal’s love of strangeness is something that shows through his music. His music carries the mystical wonder from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, the psychedelic energy of Crystal Fighters and the overall weirdness of a David Lynch film. The luscious textures typically guide us along a personal mystical tour of the headspace and dream world of the laser-guided musician.

Scandal’s new single, however, is more sparse and a little more mechanical than his others. Like his other music, it keeps a certain psychedelic honesty. But this new track feels far more modern, even a bit raucous, with its sparse electronic beats and heavily modified vocals. Images like “computerized with people skills” and “mesmerized by the pixels,” which reflect the new, more electronic direction of the music, perhaps reveal the estrangement and alienation we can feel with technology.

A few months ago, when I spoke with Scandal, we spoke about the fragility of identity, the tension between what’s real and what’s computerized, and the overwhelming beauty and terrifying complexity of the world. The textures of his music revealed this beautiful, immense complexity. The new, more industrial single perhaps reflects a new dimension to this feeling. When he gave me the track, this time, Scandal spoke not about the millions of terrifying and beautiful details of the universe but about distance. No matter how long you know someone or how long you live somewhere, you will always feel like a “stranger still.”

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