A MEETING of delicate pop like minds: musician-producers David Tanton (aka Rhoda/Tender Spring), Éloi Le Blanc-Ringuette (aka Thomas White), and Lia Kurihara (aka LIA) met on the fertile Montréalais music scene in 2018, began to share and mesh ideas, and formed Afternoon Bike Ride – and listen up, friends; they’re an absolute delight of hazy, wonky, electronic pop.
They released a seven-track EP, Skipping Stones, back in March, which you may or may not have caught wind of; you so should, because it was a lovely thing, the celestial folk intimacy of a Vashti Bunyan or early Iron & Wine spliced with hazy indie-electronica à la Hot Chip, a less metropolitan Jockstrap, and gorgeous, playful, ambience, for which think The Boats, Chihei Hatakeyama, Iceland’s múm. Gorgeous, cute, dreamy, warm, weird, spangly, futuristic and rootsy all at once; frankly, they got it. Future ambient pop? Yes please.
Originally intended as a collaborative aside to their own solo projects, the three-headed and pretty beast they created soon took on an insistent and luscious life of its own, with vocals taking more of a centre stage than had been originally conceived.
They say: “We each felt like it was a space to experiment with different sounds than we were typically used to making. As we crafted our songs, we realized that our sound progressed into a more refined and intricate version of our beginnings, letting vocals take center stage on some tracks, involving different instrumentalists, spending more time on sound design, incorporating facets of unexpected genres wherever we can.”
Now they’ve announced their self-titled debut album, which is set for release in September: a sonic hug that collects 15 tracks conveying messages of self-love, kindness, community and hope. These songs lyrically flurry over instrumentals meant to incline the listener to pause their inner monologue and take a moment to breathe. It’s wonky, it’s blissful, it’s futuristic, it’s electronic, it’s folky, all at once. We adore.
And today they’ve also dropped a come-hither to this lovely long-player, “Dog Years”, a collaboration with Middle School.
On “Dog Years” mellifluous, even angelic vocals drip deliciously down over chiming guitars seemingly being played right beside you, cute synth squeaks and a lyric that features the couplet “Every heart beat like new, we finally found our truth, that everyone is part of you”. Awww, now. You’re in lovely hands, kind hands, clever hands here.
Do you know what? It’s tomorrow already, a more beautiful version of the future done got here, and this is what it sounds like.
Afternoon Bike Ride’s self-titled album will be released digitally and on limited transparent crystal vinyl, which sounds the ideal choice, by Friends of Friends Music on September 24th; it’s available to pre-order like now, already, over at Bandcamp.