by Grady Mitchell | Vancouver trio Girlfriends And Boyfriends have released a new, long-awaited single called A Flower. It’s a dark and plaintive track that embodies modern New Wave, complete with splashy drums, reverbed guitar, and grim, sonorous vocals.
Although they’ve developed that signature New Wave style, the band began very differently. When guitarist Pete Panovic founded it, everything was straight Brit Pop. “All the songs ended up sounding like Oasis,” he says. Bassist Grant Minor joined in 2007 in response to a Craigslist ad, and most recently Adam Fink joined after the original drummer left the band. With the lineup now solidified, they’ve dived headlong into New Wave and post punk.
They’re not the first band to revitalize a past genre, although they’re among the best to do so. Bands like The Smiths and The Cure played on the radio when they were kids, and now, decades later, they’re emulating the New Wave heroes that shaped their early tastes in music. It’s not the first time New Wave in particular has boomeranged back around, the band says, citing the slew of covers done by nu metal bands in the late 90s.
So why won’t New Wave just quit? Simple, the band says: it’s just great music. They also consider the New Wave era the golden age of producing. It hit the perfect balance point when technology allowed for a cleaner sound without completely erasing the human element, before songs were programmed to a beat and polished to death. “There was still a realness to production in that kind of music,” Grant says. To recreate that realness they linked with Vancouver producer Felix Fung, who specializes in just that.
Felix, the band’s “fourth member,” was critical to the darkness and longing of A Flower. “It’s a personal song,” Grant says, “it’s about a failed relationship. Nine out of the ten songs on our record are about failed relationships.” So what’s the tenth about? The band starts to laugh. “Social media!”
The new record is finished, though we most likely won’t hear it until early 2015. In the meantime, however, they say we can expect another single soon. To support Girlfriends And Boyfriends and explore their sound, visit their Bandcamp.