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Strobes by A Very Special Episode

A Very Special Episode, a noise rock trio from Brooklyn, is set to release their sophomore album Freak Me Out in the summer of 2023. The band’s debut LP, FIX YOUR HEARTS OR DIE, was released in 2021 and showcased their foundational sound. However, Freak Me Out takes their signature sound and explores its limits, indulging in their catchier side while also experimenting with new tempos and song structures.

The band is unusually democratic and collaborative, with everyone writing lyrics and music and having a say in the final product. Vocalist/bassist Kasey Heisler notes, “The goal was, ‘let’s take every idea we have to their logical extremes,'” and guitarist Patrick Porter adds, “We wanted to allow for more pop-style melodies.” This desire for experimentation and collaboration permeates throughout the album, resulting in a cohesive and dynamic collection of songs.

One standout track on the album is “Deep in the Weeds,” a sing-along track that’s bound to get even the most snooty scenesters chanting along to the chorus of “down in the rabbit hole.” The song exemplifies the band’s desire to incorporate pop-style melodies while also experimenting with new tempos and song structures. Schutter expands on this from his behind-the-kit perspective, saying, “Bands with songs that have slower tempos, like Cloakroom, inspired me to slow the tempo of ‘Neon Stars’ way down, making it emotionally resonate at a higher level.”

The band draws inspiration from film and television, but Freak Me Out has less cinematic lyrical themes and relates that influence to real life. Songs like “Heaven’s Gate” even pull inspiration from several docu-series about cults. “At some point, I realized that local music scenes and cults had some ‘fun’ parallels,” says Porter. “They require faith, financial sacrifices, and of course, public humiliation.” The band is not just collaborative within their unit, but also with the greater DIY ecosystem, as demonstrated in the name-dropping of multiple local bands and specific instances that happened at the East Williamsburg Econo Lodge (EWEL) in the song “$5 Cover.”

The album’s lead single, “Strobes,” is a high-speed fever dream that celebrates the idea of dancing a fine line between providing the audience with an exciting and groundbreaking misadventure and not coming off so intimidating and aggressive that you alienate them. The lyrics reflect on receiving too much of a good thing at once or the fear that arises in the realization that you’re overindulging in the moment when it may already be too late to pull out.

In addition to their musical prowess, the band also has a unique backstory. While they’re not in a cult per se, they certainly have unexpected interests. “Imagine learning your most unassuming co-worker was in a cult,” says the band’s bio. “They never hid this from you, but you never expected it.” This unexpectedness and willingness to explore new ideas and sounds make A Very Special Episode a band worth keeping an eye on.

Freak Me Out releases in the summer of 2023 via Hidden Home Records/EWEL Records. With their collaborative spirit, willingness to experiment, and unique influences, it’s sure to be an exciting addition to the band’s discography.