It didn’t take a village to help Elliot Kerr raise his brainchild Manners , just a handful of helpful friends from the fringes of Montreal’s music community. Over the course of two EPs–2015’s EP and the latest, Motions–Kerr’s accompanied by buddies Ian Jarvis (Chairs), Matt LeGroulx (Expwy), and visual artist Max Wright (on drums) to flesh out his quirky indie pop. In an email exchange, Kerr also mentioned that he tapped Preoccupations’ Scott Munro for some sinewy synth work on the track “Formicarium”: “I actually forgot to credit him come to think of it,” he said, adding that “it was kind of overwhelming and awesome to have a pretty accomplished guy from a pretty great band help out with a song.”
Kerr’s modesty sells his own accomplishments and abilities short. Motions is a succinct, sharp, slice of idiosyncratic pop. Opening song “Gone Missing” has a slinky, almost sexy groove courtesy of LeGroulx’s bass that’s emboldened by Kerr’s spot-on vocal delivery. “Hollywood and the Obscene”kicks off with chunky guitar riffing and soaring synth lines before settling into a love song melody line.
Closing song “Motions” moves like a dream, measured and methodical but free to wander wherever inspiration dictates. It’s fitting as a conclusion to Motions and the jumping off point for whatever Manners does next. Measured and methodical are apt descriptors for Manners’ work as a whole. While his output may be minimal, Elliot Kerr has maximized every second of Manners’ two EPs thus far.