If you caught 2017’s Puff EP by Toronto-based group Bernice, you would be familiar with the art-pop versus experimental electronic personality that the band owns.
That five-song EP weaved a non-conformist pop stratagem that kept feet dancing to thick low-end frequencies and the inner brain projecting mini-Technicolor motion pictures. Band leader, Robin Dann, who constantly vocalizes the immediate wonder of the moment with her Joni Mitchell like chops, inspects the blurbs and gurgles that inhabit the bands’ unresolved, never gimmicky, soundscapes.
Passenger Plane, one of the released songs from the upcoming Puff LP: In the air without a shape, starts as a fragile lullaby and finishes as a quizzical deconstructed piece of EDM. With He’s the Moon, another song full of muted constructs and odd sound patches, uses the buzzing of a fluorescent light behind a vocal as a set up to the oncoming bare chorus.
Bernice’s members and collaborators include longtime Owen Pallett collaborator Thom Gill, as well as Colin Fisher, Daniel Fortin, Philippe Melanson, and Felicity Williams. Yes, this group shares a musical kinship here to Julia Holter.
But the bravery in leaving the bones of a song out for all to see, or allowing the most bizarre scuttlebutt of claustrophobic audio running beneath vocal passages. Making you blurt out ”was that shit supposed to happen?” Warrants a knee-jerk Laurie Anderson comparison. Which may be apparent, but also apt.
Puff LP: In the air without a shape is out May 25th on Arts & Crafts Records