Nature, Man & Woman from Badge Époque Ensemble is the kaleidoscopic hallucination of mushroom-tripping septuagenarians who’ve kept their musical talents hidden for too long. That’s not to suggest that the Toronto-based sextet plays like ancient fuddy-duddies; that couldn’t be further than the truth. Theirs is a sound and style straight out of an other-dimensional version of The Lawrence Welk Show. Like viral videos of someone’s gram and gramps busting a move on the dance floor or parkouring across skate parks with their walker, the three-track EP (following up 2019’s self-titled full-length of similar running time) is funky where you’d expect flatulence. Lithe instead of lethargic, thoroughly modern where one might expect mouldy and stuffy.
Badge Époque Ensemble’s sound grows exponentially trippy the more time they spend working together. “Zealous Child” and “Nature, Man & Woman” cast already-striking musical elements (like Dorothea Paas’s stellar vocal turn on the former and the seductive slow jam of the latter) into surprising unions. “Badge Theme”, the EP’s elongated outro, pirouettes and pivots along with Alia O’Brien’s spiralling flute playing. Max “Twig” Turnbull’s seductive clavinet stalks the melody like a predator zeroing in on its prey. Simultaneously, drummer Jay Anderson, bassist Giosuè Rosati, and percussionist Ed Squires keep wild time for Chris Bezant’s wicked icing-on-the-THC-infused-brownie guitar noodling.
Nature, Man & Woman is the real deal: less a retro-influenced jam than it is a modern-day reaction to synthetic art that only seems interested in gathering likes and clicks. It is authentic, sincere. Nature, Man & Woman is the yin, yang, and whole shebang.