Rising Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Ellevator — currently Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention in their native Canada and elsewhere for a developing and honing a sound that draws from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Feist, Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie paired with lean, razor sharp hooks, sweeping crescendos and Bersche’s sultry, pop star vocals singing lyrics, which thematically touch upon power, love and loss from deeply lived-in, personal reflections.
With the release of 2018’s self-titled EP, the Hamilton-based indie act exploded into the national and international scenes: material from the EP amassed over a million streams across the digital streaming platforms. The band also toured across North America with Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good, BANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin, Dear Rouge, Bishop Briggs, Arkells and Amber Run.
Elleavator’s long-awaited full-length debut is slated for a 2022 released through Arts & Crafts. But in the meantime, the Canadian trio released their first bit of new material in some time, the Chris Walla-produced “Easy.” Featuring slashing guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, Nabi Sue Bersche’s pop star-like vocals and razor sharp hooks, “Easy” reveals an act that has made a bold and decided step forward in their sound and approach. The song sees the band balancing deliberate attention to craft, earnest, lived-in lyrics and slick, studio polish in a way that reminds me of Deep Sea Diver‘s impressive Impossible Weight.
Much like the rest of the trio’s previously released work, “Easy” thematically touches upon love, connection and identity while drawing from Bersche’s personal experiences: For a period of her youth, Nabi Sue Bersche was a member of what could be described as a cult, and “Easy” is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explains in press notes. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.
“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”
Directed and edited by Cam Veitch, the recently released video for “Easy” was shot in and around a Hamilton parking lot with a sleek and stylish panache fitting of a sleek and stylish song. But throughout there’s the odd sense of the video’s protagonist — the band’s Nabi Sue Bersche — being followed by something inescapable and constant.