With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — currently Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Kendall Wooding (bass) and Adam Fink (drums) — quickly established a brooding yet anthemic post-punk sound centered around icy synths, angular bass lines, squiggling guitars and Corbett’s reverb-drenched croon.
Since the release of their full-length debut, the Canadian post-punk outfit had been busy: Until pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions put touring on pause, ACTORS had been on a relentless touring schedule to support the album, including a stop at the long-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar for a headlining set at 2018’s A Murder of Crows Festival. Interestingly, during that same period of time, ACTORS’ frontman Jason Corbett has become an in-demand producer, who has worked with the likes of Bootblacks, Ultrviolence, SPECTRES, and a growing list of post punk acts.
The Canadian post-punk outfit’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Acts of Worship was released earlier this year through Artoffact Records. Recorded and produced at Corbett’s Jacknife Studio, the album finds the members of the JOVM mainstay act pushing their synth-driven sound in a more dance floor friendly direction, while retaining the brooding melancholy and massive hooks that have won them attention across the international post-punk scene.
I’ve managed to write about three of the album’s singles so far:
- “Love U More,” a single that can trace its origins to the band being on the road: While traveling the Autobahn at 190km per hour (about 120 mph), the song’s opening synth melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. The song itself is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar and a relentless motorik groove in one of the act’s more sensual songs to date.
- “Only Lonely,” Acts of Worship‘s second single, a song that Corbett explains is indebted to Roxy Music — in particular “The Space Between” “Dance Away” and “Love Is The Drug.” And much like the sources that inspired it, “Only Lonely” manages to express a similar yearning and vulnerability.
- “Cold Eyes,” a leather, lace and light night come on, centered around buzzing bass synths, twinkling synth arpeggios and a relentless motorik groove.
Acts of Worship‘s fourth and latest single “Obsession” is a slow-burning yet sultry song centered around a propulsive bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Corbett’s achingly tender crooning and the band’s unerring knack for an enormous hook. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me of The Cars “Drive” and Avalon era Roxy Music with a subtle nod to classic soul but while tackling loneliness and obsession gone dangerously wrong.
The recently released video for “Obsession’ is split between sequences of the band playing the song in a dark, strobe lit room and a masked killer, who stalks a punk rock couple, hanging out in a parked van.