bernice writes songs that you could hum yourself to sleep with but can also captivate you in the sound stage of your headphones, and hopefully soon on the real stage. what sense of space! the delicate melodies that turn sour! what light and shadow flits through the lyrics! this might be my favorite album of the year so far ✨
Favorite track: Personal Bubble.
Nearly three years on from that release (for Bernice a rapid turnaround by comparison to the seven-year gap between their 2011 debut and Puff), the band return with their third full-length, Eau de Bonjourno, out March 5th from Telephone Explosion and figureeight records. It marks their first collaboration with producer Shahzad Ismaily, the acclaimed multi-instrumentalist who has worked with artists as varied as Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, John Zorn, and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. While their genre reconstruction remains distinctly Bernice, Dann’s lyrics bring a newfound focus to storytelling in the present moment, compassionately meeting ourselves where we are, and finding joy in spaces that are familiar but ever changing.
Eau de Bonjourno, according to Dann, “openly plays with the shape of a pop song,” drawing on the band members’ backgrounds in jazz, subverting rhythmic formulas, and resting in grooves that sit just outside of predictable. Instead of letting instruments take extended solos, the tone is set on opener “Groove Elation” with brief blurts of synthesized sax, patient passages of space, or clusters of beats, tenderly held together by Dann and Williams’ intimate vocals. The album’s sound is experimental in its truest definition, chopped up like musique concrète and then delicately placed back together with the loving touch of a scrapbook collagist.
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada. www.canada.ca
This album was created with the generous support of the Ontario Creates.
released March 5, 2021
Recorded & produced by Shahzad Ismaily, Nov 2020, Figure 8 studios Brooklyn NY (additional engineering by Lily Wen)
Additional sessions at Aytche studios in Toronto, summer/fall 2020
engineered by Christopher Shannon & Nathan Vanderwielen
Mixed by Christopher Shannon (1,2, 3, 5, 6, 7), Matthew Pencer (3, 8, 9) & Shahzad Ismaily (10), additional mixing by Phil Melanson (6)
Mastered by Kevin McPhee, East End Mastering
Album photography by Claire Harvie
Robin Dann, voice and some other sounds
Felicity Williams, voice
Dan Fortin, the bass
Thom Gill, the keyboards, the guitar
Philippe Melanson, percussions éléctroniques et réelles
supported by 48 fans who also own “Eau De Bonjourno”
The slow, every-building feeling of quiet menace in "Robber" is deeply unsettling and utterly unforgettable. But every song on this album just *glows*. I can't recommend it highly enough. Saint Aardvark