Bernice shares new single “We Choose You” ahead of LP release

Earlier this week, Toronto experimental 5-piece Bernice released their new single “We Choose You”, from their upcoming album Eau de Bonjourno set to release March 5th. The intro of “We Choose You” begins with Robin Dann asking : what are you saying? A vocoder voice answers, “the top”. Let’s take it from the beginning again.

Dann explains:

“This is a song about the impossible nature of the present moment, as individual people on a planet that’s too hot, too crowded, too connected, too divided. We can’t imagine how to do it, how to make it better, but we’ll do it anyway. There is a body of water in each one of us – we’re listening now. The waterfall in front of us is loud – but we can still speak. We can live in the future.”

Bernice is the experimental pop vessel of musician/songwriter Robin Dann and her longtime collaborators Thom Gill (keyboards, guitar), Philippe Melanson (e-percussion and drums), Daniel Fortin (bass) and Felicity Williams (voice). Their upcoming record, Eau de Bonjourno, arrives nearly three years on from the release of their Polaris Music Prize-nominated 2018 LP Puff: In the air without a shape (for Bernice a rapid turnaround by comparison to the seven-year gap between their 2011 debut and Puff). 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.

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