Victoria band Bridal Party is most impressive when they’re trying to be anything but.
I’ve been thinking about the term “dream pop” a lot lately, largely because of this arbitrary list that recognizes how this subjective musical description casts such a wide net. Then I heard Too Much, the first full-length release from Victoria’s Bridal Party, and began to understand the madness in that list’s methodology.
Dream pop isn’t a stand-alone genre; it’s a state of mind. It’s a way of simultaneously being and not being. The push and pull of consciousness. Too Much lives in these margins. Its ten songs rest on a bed of intoxicating sweetness, the ultimately sustained sugar high. Vocalists/guitarists Suzannah Raudaschl and Joseph Leroux, keyboardist Jordan Clairmont, bassist/producer Lee Gauthier, and drummer Adrian Heim, wring disco’s seductive nectar and fold it into the doughy softness of 60s pop on both the title track and “Nectarine”, a song that features the funkiest, most understated instrumental break I’ve heard this summer.
For every saccharine-fuelled moment (too many to list, but at the moment I’m stuck on Heim’s shimmering cymbal solo on “Armour”) Bridal Party balances its songs by dousing them in a foggy glaze. Whether it’s Raudaschl and Leroux’s ease with intricate back-and-forth vocals on “Tylenol” or the way Raudaschl delivers pointed lyrics about sexual autonomy with the casualness of a check-out counter conversation, Too Much is a full-on reverie. It’s not sleepy — if anything, Bridal Party is fully woke — but the quintet is so in-sync that they’re able to loosen up the arrangements and relax into each song to let the twinkle of twilight play off of individual notes and phrases.
Bridal Party is most impressive when it’s trying to be anything but. Too Much is so aptly named; it’s an overdose of codeine-soaked pop lucidly dreaming in the real world about real-life relationships and anxieties. Call it whatever kind of category or genre descriptor you want, but Too Much is the kind of record you’ll never listen to enough.