- Daniel Gill at Force Field PR
[email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 818-331-0830]
The Up Here Place, the debut album from Montreal’s noise-pop quartet Look Vibrant, is a wonderpot of musical inventiveness and immediacy, boiling over with energy and steaming into bliss. After releasing two singles of pure noise music (Plateau and Sweater in the Lake), and an EP of polished indie pop (Only Qualms), on their debut album the band has perfectly combined these two elements into a product that is equally refined and unhinged. The songs teeter on the brink, threatening to fall apart at your feet, while somehow remaining intact by a logic that is uniquely Look Vibrant. Thematically, the album is an exploration of naive ambition, the constant need to reach ever growing heights, and the inevitable sharp drop that comes in its wake.
The album was written over a two year period in which songwriters Matt Murphy and Justin Lazarus were both students – at Concordia and McGill universities respectively – demoing in between classes and touring in between semesters. The duo originally met at the tender age of 11, as members of a children’s acting group in their home town, Toronto. Their creative chemistry was apparent from the beginning, bonding over a shared devotion to middle-school emo-pop and a yearning to perform. Their kinship blossomed, yielding several gawky musical projects throughout their teens. This strong musical partnership eventually culminated in the move to Montreal and the formation of Look Vibrant.
“The writing process starts with some very vague ideas,” Lazarus says. “Melodies will sort of beam into my mind and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to start gingerly whisper-singing into my phone. From there I’ll go home and flesh that out, take more voice notes, flesh them out more, and basically repeat until I can play a structure of a song through with accompaniment. At this point I’ll bring it to the band and we’ll realize it in its full form.”
With loads of ambition, but little experience, the band tumbled head first into the recording process in the summer of 2015. “The songs were brand new, and after a few attempts to record, we quickly realized the songs simply weren’t ready and that we needed to let them stew before putting them to tape,” Murphy remembers. In response, the band took these new songs on tour, slowly morphing them to bring out their best qualities. Through the process, the character of instrumentalists Eli Kaufman (Drums), Alex Rand (Bass), and Andrew David (Guitar) were injected into the songs. “These songs would be vastly different if it weren’t for the extremely singular voices of these three musicians.” Lazarus adds. Formerly a member of Montreal math rock band Notta Comet, Eli’s unique drumming style can be described as a skittish, nervous, explosion of energy and time that constantly threatens to dissolve without ever falling off the rails. Alex Rand, a self taught virtuoso rooted in jazz and classical, brings an eccentric and colorful sense of harmony and rhythm. Andrew David functioned as master of tone, colouring the sonic pallet with calculated lushness and controlled chaos. “We all have different tastes,” Murphy says, “but I think we share the same love for music that messes with form without losing its fundamental pop basis. In the beginning, before we all knew each other the way we do now, we just sort of brought the songs to the band and they learned them. This time around we started learning from each other, giving space for each member to put themselves into the songs,” says Murphy.
Andrew David doubled as producer on the The Up Here Place. His style of production combines researched precision with DIY experimentation, an approach that perfectly matches Look Vibrant’s own mix of clarity and chaos. The bulk of the album was recorded in the summer of 2016 between the hours of 12 and 5 in the morning. “We were extremely lucky to have access to this almost empty office building off the side of highway 40 where Andrew could set up a pop-up studio,” Murphy remembers. “There were still some businesses operating in there, so we had to wait until midnight to start making noise. Recording was a frenzy. We were working the night shift, except for the fact that we also had lives to live in the day afterwards. We were fueled by our friendship and McDonalds fries. It was a time of chaos and ecstasy and I think the album reflects that.”
The title The Up Here Place was born of a conversation between Matt and a good friend, during a particularly rough time in both their lives. It refers to “that illusory point of stability, where every moment of your day falls smoothly into place, and nothing feels arduous or hopeless,” Murphy says. “Of course, it is sort of a mistake to assert this ‘place’ as an end-in-itself, as stability generally lapses to and fro, and to take these moments out of context is to miss the bigger-picture.” Each song on the album presents an exaggerated aspect of Murphy or Lazarus’ personality, caricaturing specific traits and cartoonish pitfalls. “These are the sorts of guilty characters you might embody in your dreams,” Lazarus says, “where you wouldn’t necessarily empathize with them when you wake up, but you know, deep down that they’re a part of you. We wanted to express feelings of longing for some heightened way of being, while acknowledging that these needs aren’t to be taken too seriously, lest we lose grip on what’s actually happening and what actually matters.”
The Up Here Place is a grappling with naivety itself and a beautiful learning process embodied by a volcano of feelings and sonic experimentation. “We grew so much through the creation of this first album,” Lazarus says, “and this feeling of metamorphosis comes across in the songs. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who made this extremely unwieldy and exciting version of ‘growing up’ possible.”
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The Up Here Place
1. Sweater In the Lake
2. Last One To Survive
3. My Old City
4. My Nerves
5. Here I
7. Here II
8. Spelling Bee
9. Drive Common Sense Away
10. Numb Your Spirit
LOOK VIBRANT LINKS:
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