Vancouver’s Supermoon make brightly tinged pop rock that fits right in with springtime. Their debut EP, Comet Lovejoy, was a fuzzy and emotionally charged collection of pensive songs, produced by labelmate and synth rock extraordinaire Jay Arner. Their forthcoming release is the double 7-inch Playland, whose first single sees them favoring distinctly cleaner, more open arrangements. “Bottleships” starts out light and jangling, emanating sweetness in line with the record’s name. Ringing guitar lines interlace under multi-instrumentalist Alie Lynch’s clear vocals as she sings about falling in love, but there’s something unraveling with the heightened crash of the drums at the chorus. The shift is instant from the sweet “I could buy you flowers if you like / I could steal you bottleships at night” to the more concerning “you can cut my hair off I don’t mind / for you I’d break everything I like.” And then a speeding rush of sound swallows the bright instrumentation and suddenly it’s over. It’s the kind of song that warrants repeat plays, or at least some deep reflection once it’s through.
Lynch told us that the song is “a pretty futile take on romance. It focuses on someone who wants to feel the levity and warmth of flowers-and-candy love, but always sees it unravel into a more destructive place. They’re trying their best, but stuff still gets dark. Bit of a bummer, actually.
When I first wrote ‘Bottleships’ I only had the bass line and the vocal melody and I thought it would sound like Joy Division. It didn’t end up sounding like Joy Division but that’s probably good because I love the parts that everyone wrote and I only kinda like Joy Division. We knew we wanted the song to sound like it was kind of self-destructing by the end as a way to mirror the content of the lyrics (people self-destructing in relationships). We also love feedback so it worked out.”
You can stream “Bottleships” below and scroll down to read bassist and guitarist Adrienne LaBelle’s thoughts on Playland, out May 20 on Mint Records.
Impose: What’s changed since last summer’s record Comet Lovejoy—musically or otherwise?
Adrienne LaBelle: we’ve come into our own sound a bit more, we’ve spent more time together and learned to really write collaboratively. 3/4 of us were in a former project (Movieland) together and a couple of the songs on CL started out as unrecorded songs from that band. With a new member and a concerted effort to be our own distinct band, we were still figuring out what parts of those songs still made sense and we’ve just kind of been feeling it out, trying new things. We started Supermoon in a bit of a whirlwind rush and now we’re settling down, moving forward at a steadier pace. Comet Lovejoy still had remnants of our old sound whereas Playland really embraces a new sound that is wholly our own.
A big part of the change in sound on Playland comes from Alie and Adrienne switching instruments for half of the songs (“Bottleships”, “Witching Hour”, “If You Say So”, and “Stories”). We each play guitar and bass quite differently and it definitely changes up the process for songwriting; in the end it has helped us to expand on our sound. Katie has been steadily providing dissonant pop riffs that really make Supermoon songs stand out from just your average pop songs, but on Playland, she has emerged from the shadows to take the lead vocals on Fast-Fashion, providing a heavy yet catchy political commentary that you can sing along to. Selina’s been contributing to songwriting in a more substantial way on this record as her drum parts are coming in very much as the fourth equal part of the puzzle. We all work together to make it all fit, trying things out until each part has its proper place.
Overall, this album is darker, moodier and more intricate, in theme and in sound. We’ve had time to grow as individuals and together as a band and that maturity in songwriting should come across in Playland. But as the title suggests, we’re not all dark, moody, jaded old ladies yet. We still like to have fun, and at the end of the day, we’re still laughing as we stumble through the darkness together. No words are spoken without a tongue in a cheek or a wink and a nod to all the other folks out there wading through the bullshit of the times.