Montreal four-piece TOPS have shared a second single from their forthcoming album, ‘I Feel Alive,’ which will be released on April 3rd via the band’s own label, Musique TOPS.
Following the release of the album’s title track last month, new single “Witching Hour“ is one of the album’s many deceptively upbeat and jubilant moments. It sees singer Jane Penney trying to negotiate the pressure to be feminine and find true feminine power.
“Witching Hour is a song about reckoning” she explains. “David wrote the chorus of the song, and when he showed it to me I gravitated towards the idea of a witching hour as a time of night for unconscious thoughts and uncomfortable visions. The pressure to be feminine has twisted my experience of my own sensuality in this nightmarish way, and I wanted to articulate that by conjuring the nefarious ways that trauma emerges in dreams. There’s a sense of reprisal in witchcraft, of retribution as a means of expression, and I wanted to explore that side of feminine power.”
The artwork for TOPS‘ fourth LP sets the tone for the music enclosed. Inspired by the work of photographer Thomas Ruff, TOPS’ vocalist Jane Penney stares bare-faced down the lens – simple and un-posed, yet striking with starkness and vulnerability.
The image captures the fraught nature of being alive, which the 11 tracks on the album explore. Penny’s remarkably expressive voice is front and centre. On this record more than any other, she sings with passion and energy, without sacrificing the honesty and introspection that gives her voice its depth. The songs cover a range of experiences but at it’s heart ‘I Feel Alive’ is a record about resilience, the ways we can grow from for our pain and the strength that comes from learning to stand on your own as an individual.
‘I Feel Alive’ is TOPS’ fourth full-length, following 2017’s ‘Sugar At The Gate’ and follows singles “Echo of Dawn” and “Seven Minutes” from last year. Their trademark sound of beguiling melodies over soft-rock grooves, with touches of ’80s sophisti-pop and a contemporary experimental palette is intact, but bolder and more expansive. The songs manage to be both immediately catchy and deceptively deep, with Penny’s literary lyrics adding an extra dimension to the pure pop hooks. Satisfying yet far from predictable, this is a record to be savoured, revealing itself slowly, gaining power and poignancy with each listen.
Beneath the soaring melodies and crisp production, ‘I Feel Alive’ balances the giddiness of a new relationship with the agony of leaving old things behind. It’s an introspective record that you can dance to, music that hits in an immediate rush but sticks around, lingering like the memory of a perfect doomed love affair-both the joy and the pain, until it becomes a part of your life forever.
‘I Feel Alive’ will be released on April 3rd via Musique TOPS. Pre-order at TOPS.lnk.to/IFeelAlive