Life tends to have a lot of ups and downs. The intensity of the high that comes with starting a new relationship is only matched by the sadness that comes with feeling one peter out. Seeing as how Montreal’s Vanille have dubbed themselves as “the band you always needed when crying about breakups in your Cheerios”, they take pride in writing music that captures the emotional weight of these experiences. Their new EP, My grandfather thinks I’m going to hell, offers an intriguing blend of sentiment and heady instrumentation. It’s a perfect soundtrack for sitting back and reflecting on someone loved or lost.
The EP is an interesting taste of a sound steeped in reverb, slightly washed-out guitars, and bouncy basslines. Bassist Vincent Huard Tremblay shines through in tracks like “Cherry” and “Phonème”. The production also helps to bolster the solid, serviceable drum grooves. “Rearrange the World” is so close to a Mac DeMarco song in its production that it almost feels like a cover. And the lyric “I’d rearrange the world just to make you feel better” works very well as a charming, heart-on-sleeve proclamation of love.
Lead vocalist Rachel Leblanc has a great range, and her delivery is a mix of Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry, Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, and Alvvays’ Molly Rankin. She shows enormous potential in the catchy chorus of the aforementioned “Cherry” and in the show-stopping closer “Drowning Out of Love”. Leblanc’s guitar work also impresses, especially when it sits alongside the mellow, soothing synth lines.
With their new EP, Vanille have taken an admirable step towards making a name for themselves in the worlds of Franco-pop and, as they’ve labelled themselves, “sad pop”. My grandfather thinks I’m going to hell is a well-crafted introduction to this burgeoning subgenre; it’s freshly squeezed dream-pop for 2017.