TOPS, “Outside”

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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.

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.