BLAJK’s “Good Liars” is the newest release in Synth-Pop, ahead of their late spring Canadian tour which ends with a flourish at Bestival Toronto June 12.
“Good Liars” is a journey of connection and disconnection, all shimmery summer nights and melancholic beats that play against gauzy synths and smooth melody transitions. It’s Synth-Pop at its best: these pretty sounds make the truth about the constant, shared strain of modern life livable: “Strangers know me, no real love / Side to side, but so out of touch / So out of touch” “We sleep but we don’t dream/And now our hearts are faded”. By making it plain, singing it out, and being heard, the music pushes back the darkness and makes something entirely different happen, makes the potential for connections to form and lights the way. The single follows up the 2015 tracks “Hamptons” “French Class” and “Lost” , three more multi-faceted tunes that layer rich vocals over atmospheric, at times ambient soundscapes.
There was a time when music something like this was essential to cope with an earlier generation’s anxieties and fear. In the Cold-War 80’s, well dressed boys descended upon music as guides to a darkening sky of culture, and people danced and sang through it in dark rooms with polished looks of their own, a stiff upper lip of elegance belying the panic beneath. Those keyboards, so scorned by some bands and genres, introduced something new and totally essential for the times that lay ahead. They were the new sound -part of the new world of still water surfaces beneath which all life churns and fights against darkness, just out of reach of our friends. Electronic influenced music and the layered songs that plunge the depths of feeling still matter, still comfort, and still ring true.
2016 brings new world anxieties, filters and the constantly shifting ground of music and culture. Music that can help us ride out these waves, through the dark winter and with the optimism we reach for every spring, will bloom this summer as BLAJK spins westward to the West Coast, and then back to Toronto just as the first tents and flags of Bestival opens our summer season with hope and new beginnings. And with the celebration of life that live music and music festivals are, shaking us awake, forcing us to touch, comes the promise that maybe it will all be OK, after all.
By Jacqueline Howell