TOPS, “Outside”

Katie Capri

pastel drawings of female faces

Montreal’s TOPS is back with the first slice from their follow-up to 2012’s slow-burning soft rock sensation Tender Opposites. Take solace in the fact that although a couple years have passed the dry-ice worthy sulky synth-pop ballads haven’t gone anywhere on their forthcoming sophomore LP. At least if the lead single “Outside” is any indication.

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It’s immediately apparent that TOPS has stuck with their gut where keyboard pre-sets are concerned. I’d say “yes” to the track’s yearning, swirling plea “are you getting what you need?” that coos into your ear just before a cascade of shimmery synth notes shower down over the drum brushes shifting across a snare. The bridge’s deep bass (in a John Hughes soundtrack way) connects the twinkling chorus that rings out over the layered vocals creating the auditory equivalent of a mirror facing a mirror. Disorienting and infinite repetitions ensue, lulling you blissfully into an echo chamber you won’t want to leave.

Stream “Outside” below. Picture You Staring is out September 2 on Arbutus Records.

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