TOPS have shared with fans, another new single off their forthcoming release I Feel Alive out April 3rd via Musique TOPS. “Direct Sunlight” is described as a song containing bouncy synth stabs, combined with the ever breezy vocals of Jane Penny, and even a whimsical flute solo. The track follows previous singles “Colder & Closer.” “Witching Hour,” and the album’s title-track.
Speaking on the song, Penny says: “I went to this outdoor pool with Olympic style diving boards one summer day in Berlin, and when I tried to jump off the middle one, I think it was about 5 metres high, I really surprised myself when I realised that I’m terrified of heights. My whole body entered this panicked state, the phobia kicked in right away, and I had to do the walk of shame down the ladder and back to the pool. I wanted to capture that duality, the way that even the sunniest days can have this underlying darkness to them, and how it’s not just the physical reaction to fear that casts the shadows, but more how the ever looming possibilities of loss or discontent are revealed. I wrote this song to remind myself that it’s up to me to choose the perspective that I take.”
The artwork for TOPS’ fourth LP sets the tone for the music enclosed. Inspired by the work of photographer Thomas Ruff, TOPS’ vocalist Jane Penny stares bare-faced down the lens-simple and un-posed, yet striking with starkness and vulnerability.
For the band’s new album I Feel Alive, the band members convened in a basement studio in Montreal, recording for the first time with keyboardist Marta Cikojevic who joined the band as a live member in 2017. “From the first time we practiced with her it was clear that we were in sync musically, and we found ourselves improvising together at the first rehearsal” says Penny. “Having Marta manning the keys allowed me to reach for my flute, and gave me the chance to integrate my flute playing with the writing process, using it as an expressive instrument rather than more production element which it has been in the past.”
She continues: “We’d spent a lot of time apart, not working on new stuff or touring, just living life, all in different cities,” says Penny. When we went to make I Feel Alive we all had a good sense of what we were trying to do and a renewed energy towards playing together. The goal was to get in a room together and play, not holding anything back.”
“It was a quick process,” says guitarist and fellow song-writer David Carriere. “We would work all day writing a song and then demo them the same evening, relying on our natural chemistry as a band to let the songs come into their own.” The band’s line-up is completed by Riley Fleckon drums.
I Feel Alive
April 3, 2020
1. Direct Sunlight
2. I Feel Alive
4. Ballads & Sad Movies
5. Colder & Closer
6. Witching Hour
7. Take Down
8. Drowning In Paradise
9. OK Fine Whatever
10. Looking To Remember
11. Too Much