Quebec City-based indie pop act and JOVM mainstays New Bleach features a duo known throughout Quebec for their work in acclaimed Francophone indie rock act Caravane — — Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin. And with the release of New Bleach’s first four singles, Pelletier and Potvin’s newest project proved to be a marked sonic departure from their work in Caravane:
“Awake,” the duo’s debut as New Bleach was an Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like single centered around a profound philosophical question: “What if death was just a dream?”
“Silver Lining,” a Quiet Storm R&B meets Beacon-like track that’s one part old-school love song and one part plea for hope in a seemingly hopeless and bleak world.
“High.” Kraftwerk meets 80s New Wave-like track centered around the age-old desire to get into the car for a road trip — and maybe pull over to do some hallucinogens and daydream.
“You,” a slow-burning and atmospheric track full of the aching longing and regret of one’s lingering ghosts that featured Ghostly Kisses‘ Margaux Sauvé.
The JOVM mainstays started 2021 with a gorgeously cinematic live session filmed in the Le Massif de Charlevoix, Quebec. Filmed in a mountainous forest cleaning, just off the coast of the St. Lawrence River, with a morning fog gently lifting, the sessions take place over the course of a day and night with the duo performing behind a futuristic lighting rig. The session features three singles I’ve written about previously — “Awake,” Silver Lining,” and “High.” The setting is breathtakingly gorgeous — in a way that only could be Quebec.
Building upon a growing profile, the Quebec City-based duo’s debut EP Impressions was released last Friday through Coyote Records. And just before the EP’s release, the Quebec City JOVM mainstays released “Stranger,” a breezy and vaporous synth pop number centered around delicate and shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals, skittering polyrhythm and a sinuous bass line that sonically brought 80s synth soul and pop like Billy Ocean to mind. But at its core, the song asked thematically big, existential questions — namely, if true happiness is actually possible.
Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Night.” Centered around an achingly tender vocal melody and boy-girl harmonizing between New Bleach’s Dominic Pelletier and Ariane Roy, twinkling synths, a propulsive bass line, the song evokes brooding, late night/early morning solitude while slowly unfolding into a rousingly anthemic coda. Written in a single night of solitude, the song invites the listener to meditate on the simple things that keep life worth living — and keep us alive.