“Anxiety, nostalgia, minimal electro-pop.” Everything you could want or need in an album.
The band TOPICS consists of Evan Tyler and Lauren Fournier, two art students from the University of Regina – Intermedia.
TOPICS met and started an art collective and band with a brother/sister vibe. The duo is quirky, unique, and a little deranged…in the best way possible. Their music is simple, yet carries the sound of that garage band next door. Bass guitar, synths, and reverb are the main elements of the songs. Of course, there are simple beats and occasional guitars, but overall, there aren’t many complexities attached to their music. This is refreshing, but can also be dangerous. If there aren’t any complexities, songs can sound stale, but the Canadian duo keep their music fresh.
TOPICS just released their debut 10-track album, youth shield antioxidant complex, and it really does catch the eye immediately. The album is unique, to say the least. youth shield is jam-packed with catchy hooks, playful rhythms and melodies, and some unusual lyrics. The contrast between light and familiar with somewhat dark and strange is very exciting and entertaining. It’s something you don’t see too often.
One of the first things that I noticed is the vocal contrast between Evan and Lauren. Their vocals are reminiscent of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Lauren’s vocals actually had striking similarities to Gordon to me. I also noticed that their music carried the same minimalist vibe as Beat Happening and others from the era. Of course, these similarities should be taken note of to strengthen their individuality.
TOPICS Push the Boundaries of Pop
In “CULT OF EXTRAORDINARY,” the two really push the limits of pop and go for a very simple lyrical scheme, while making the melody more complex. The track is really a chanting about being cool, and I understand why the word “cult” is in the title. “JUST BEING WITH MY BOYFRIEND” is a fun, sunny anthem of love and companionship. It is one of the faster-paced songs and a very unique take on the traditional love song. It carries the same loving undertones, a saxophone solo, and some space-themed sound bytes.
“G” is a light tune about a fellow artist friend of the duo’s. The song is airy, ethereal, and wonders about what G could be doing. If G is building robots, living in a laptop, or making crepes like the lyrics suggest, I’d like him to be my friend, too. Don’t worry, the song also features a flute solo, too. How much more interesting could these two get?
“ART CAMP” is a song about…well, going to art camp. The track is paired with a retro-style video picturing kids enjoying a summer camp. The two talk about making sculptures, studying shape and form, and eating lunch with their classmates. The song has an interesting twist when they duo mentions that “50,000 people die everyday” in the chorus.
For me, these strange moments of morbidity add to the personality of TOPICS. I think it’s really original and humorous.