Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney based on a Photo by Evan Prosovsky, Recording engineered by James Benjamin at Breakglass Studio, Montreal, Canada
The members of Montreal band TOPS don't sound like they are the marrying type. It might just be that they're young and they've had so many paltry experiences in love thus far that they can envision no person that they could ever make a commitment like that to. It could just be that they are a thousand-percent dissatisfied with the choices that they're staying out of the discussion altogether. Or, it could be that they'd rather just have a little more fun before settling down. Whatever the case might be, there's no getting around where the songs taped during this session are hinting at. There's no love lost in the stories told here, mainly because it seems as if there may never have been any love gained in the first place. These tales sound as if they're coming from a spot where it's either bitterness that reigns or it's a feeling that life's too damned short to get stuck in any one place for longer than a day or two.
A song like, "Go Away," features someone thinking about hiding their sneakers. The reason - from what we can tell - being that there's a sense that they could get pilfered. It could be an iffy roommate, but it feels deeper than just someone paying half of the rent every month. It feels like we're being dipped into a story about two people who found themselves hooking up and then realizing, with a whiplash, that they have nothing at all in common, that they're strangers and that there's no reason to even attempt to get to know one another better. It won't be good so ties should be cut immediately. The chorus says as much, wishing for the person to get out of there by the time the sunlight goes away. Another take on the matter comes in "Turn Your Love Around," even if it amounts to the same sort of ending. The most important moments of the scene are those that involve the rejection of whatever effort of love is being put out there - denounced as not enough. It and the one offering it are being told to just leave and take all the garbage with them. It's not wanted here. It's no good enough here. There is a high bar set for that lasting love that's being sought.
What makes TOPS so interesting in its execution is that it does so while making music that sounds like a mixture between disco and soul and the ideas of taking that love and shoving it, or kicking it out the door, come in direct contrast to most of the words about love that you'd hear in a soul or disco song. These songs are begging for the nights to never end, embracing that last dance or overly praising the virtues of the sweetheart they've got around their waist. These songs are waiting for something better to come along - a delayed seizure of the day.
TOPS Official Site