Premiere: TOPS, “Rings of Saturn”

Video by Jasper Baydala

"Where do you want to go?"

"Anywhere."

TOPS begins their video with this sentiment, the natural mantra of teenage rebellion, and singer Jane Penney swings one of her long legs over the back of an anonymous motorcycle, and off they go.

But where do they end up? With TOPS (and really, most of the other releases on Montreal's Arbutus Records), it's not so simple. Instead of taking the illuminating road trip and coming of age, or exploitatively ending up in some horrible brothel street nonsense, we next see Jane with her band, in what seems to be a rec room or spacious apartment, with her band. They are sitting around and texting, and drinking iced tea. Everyone is effortlessly stylish. The angst has left – as soon as we got on the motorcycle, we got right back off, and now everything is fine.

So the world of TOPS is a world of rebellious ease, which makes sense. It might be the easy sound they are expressing; TOPS is not trying to shock you, shock you, shock you with their deviant behavior. "The rings of Saturn / Don't you think that love is magic? / Love shouldn't happen," sings Penney in a sing-song pattern, over a cleaned-up lounge-lizard keyboard line. It's simultaneously celebratory and self-defeating.

Tender Opposites comes out today on Arbutus, and TOPS play Saturday at 285 Kent in Brooklyn with Caged Animals, Phone Tag, and a secret guest.

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