It's hard to say exactly when it happened.
It could've been during one of the 100+ shows STRFKR played over the past two years -- ecstatic sold-out dance parties that started in tiny, sweaty rooms before word of mouth spread and forced a move to larger (and even sweatier) venues.
It might've been when touring guitarist Patrick Morris officially became a full-time member in late 2011, rounding out a line-up that included multi-instrumentalists Josh Hodges, Shawn Glassford, and Keil Corcoran.
Most likely, though, there wasn't a single defining moment when the change occurred. With evolution there rarely is.
Instead, progression happens naturally and steadily -- each step leading inevitably to the next until you reach a point when you realize how far you've come without even being fully aware of how you got there.
In early 2012, during a rare break in the group's touring schedule, Hodges retreated to secluded Astoria, Oregon. But this time, rather than completely isolating himself to work on new material (as had always been the case in the past), Hodges invited the other members to visit often and truly collaborate in the process of writing STRFKR's third full-length, Miracle Mile.
And so it was that STRFKR became a band.
As a result, whether participating in all-night lyric writing sessions, fleshing out song skeletons originally conceived during European soundchecks ("Malmo") and long van rides ("Leave It All Behind"), or completing half-finished ideas kicking around Hodges' brain and hard drive, there isn't a single song on Miracle Mile that every member of STRFKR didn't contribute to and ultimately improve.
For proof, look no further than first single and opening track "While I'm Alive," a song that bursts out of the gate with what can only be described as swagger. Not overconfidence or false bravado, but the undeniable sound of a band that knows exactly who they are: swirling keyboards that take you up, down, and all around, rhythmic guitars, irresistible basslines, and drums that keep an unrelenting beat.
Disco-y standout "Atlantis" is the paragon of this formula, with vocal and musical hooks seemingly custom fitted to a spot so deep inside your eardrums they'll never dislodge.
But upbeat isn't Miracle Mile's only tempo.
In fact, it's in quieter moments like "Isea," which briefly slows down the album's pulse with gentle "oh-oh-ohs" over acoustic guitar, that the record truly coalesces as a complete whole that couldn't have come together any other way.
Just like STRFKR.
Robin Hilton (NPR All Songs Considered)
I am really loving this record.
A quick bit of sweet-tooth pop built on dreamy synths and bubbling guitars that betray the distance and loneliness in singer Josh Hodges' voice and lyrics.
Let the electronic spirits enter your body and choreograph your day. Worry about the exorcism later.
My Old Kentucky Blog
The band’s most complete record to date.
The sort of thing you fall completely and hopelessly in love with on the first listen.
It’s a rare feat when an album can maintain a unique and consistent overarching atmosphere without stinting on the tunes.
Beats Per Minute
The Daily Californian
Miracle Mile is everything you would expect in a record from STRFKR — easy to listen to, fun and addictive with a hint of the ‘80s thrown in as well.
Miracle Mile is a mellow, downbeat affair whose songs melt into the background of your mind. Double luckily, half of the album presents a handful tracks that grab your ear and make you dance.
Entertainment Tonight (ET)
...a bright, fun-loving vibe that you can dance to in your car, or at a night club.
Miracle Mile is fun.
[STRFKR] clearly respects the art of songwriting.
1While I'm Alive (3:48)
4Beach Monster (2:09)
7Fortune's Fool (2:05)
8Kahlil Gibran (3:59)
9Say to You (4:24)
11Leave It All Behind (3:14)
12I Don't Want to See (3:33)
13Last Words (2:55)
14Golden Light (4:43)
15Nite Rite (7:12)