Toronto recording artists Bernice have sort of been experiencing good news as of late – maybe like on a roll of sorts. Their new album Puff In the air without a shape – their first release in seven years – was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. They made the long list. They just finished touring with Washed Out in Montreal and Toronto and between all of this they were able to shoot a video of one of their experimental pop songs “One Garden” from their acclaimed new album.
“Our goal was to capture how we really sound,” says Robin Dann of the new album. “Some people in a room, playing music together.”
Well, as i listen to this and to some of the Puff LP, her quote about some people playing in a room seems understated. They will do what it takes to sustain the pop aesthetic – pile on hooks, melodies, chorus, whatever is essential in pop music onto one song…not just an album…but each and every song and it doesn’t sound like a parody of itself either. I sense there’s a common conclusion that they dont want to get caught in the typical trappings of a pop cliche. As for vocalist Dann – her goal is to apparently obtain as many hook, line and sinker phrases in a hot minute. There’s not much wall of sound, the atmospheric sounds resemble a jazzy mix of xylophone and piano spaced in between, sometimes elements of dream like sounds make cascading appearances and the drum play is there when its call upon. At the same time, there’s no urgent need either and when you think they’ve run out of ideas they surprise. Listening to “Glue” epitomizes this. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the lyrics at first, because i was floored in awe of where all this so-called subtlety was going. Is this what experimental pop is all about?
Check out the new video above. If you aren’t able to collect hundreds and thousands of albums due this year, consider this as a highlight purchase for 2018. I was surprised too.