Montreal’s Population II is a symphony of contrasts, veering effortlessly between chaotic improvisations and meticulously crafted pieces. Their heavy psychedelic rock carries undertones of frenzied funk and whispers of jazz, infused with the raw energy reminiscent of punk’s inception, and a nod to the haunting minor scales of heavy metal’s genesis.
Self-proclaimed as an “unfathomable entity emerging from the depths of the swamp,” Population II blurs the line between dreamlike haziness and exhilarating eruptions. Remarkably, the resonance of their output emanates from just three souls: the enigmatic vocals and drums of Pierre-Luc Gratton, the versatile strings and keys of Tristan Lacombe, and the grounding bass of Sébastien Provençal. Their distinct character is further colored by Gratton’s contemplative, reminiscent, and delightfully quirky lyrics sung in French.
Their sizzling new single “C.T.Q.S.” offers a tantalizing preview from the band’s forthcoming album, Électrons libres du Québec, set to debut on October 6th via Bonsound. The track unravels like a pulled grenade: its insistent rhythm, punctuated by jarring organ harmonies, dramatically spirals into an intense, unsettling detour. This audacious piece oscillates and pulsates, embracing repetition, yet never feeling confined.
Echoes of 60s Detroit garage rhythms intertwine with the trippy funk vibes found in legends like Traffic, Cream, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and nascent Yes. The Canterbury scene’s enigmatic air, 70s German experimental verve, and the intricate layers of Miles Davis’ audacious period are also seamlessly woven into this melodic fabric. The marshy aura of Pointe-Calumet provides the backdrop, but the core of their magic lies in the profound bond and palpable chemistry between the three members. Their creation is a timeless melody, standing aloof amidst the shifting tides of indie trends.
“C.T.Q.S. is the manifestation of the tribulations of the past among today’s youth,” explains the band. “It’s the calm after the storm, the law of suburbia, the boomer’s victory lap.”
Pierre-Luc Gratton, the band’s lyrical savant and rhythmic heart, delivers a wry commentary, mocking the complacency of those too subdued to challenge the prevailing zeitgeist and the generational rift unfolding before us.
“It’s not from specific experience, but let’s just say that every Christmas, there’s always an uncle to remind you of this clash of generations,” they quip.
Created by Hugo Jeanson, the song’s visualizer unfurls like a dream, mirroring the ethereal vibe of the tune. Drawing us into a dimension apart, we find ourselves anchored in the moment, feeling the melody through silhouetted forms and a dance of ever-changing hues.
Population II was initially inspired by the nostalgia of adolescent memories. From endless sessions of intuitive jamming, their cohesion grew, and their independent musical ventures soon danced into the realm of John Dwyer (Osees), the creative force behind Castle Face Records. Fom this alchemy emerged “À la ô Terre,” their inaugural label-released chronicle of 2020. This chapter was followed by a whirlwind of performances that spanned Canada and the United States, with memorable footprints at SXSW in Austin, Pop Montreal, Toronto, New York, and Quebec City.
The band hopes people can hear more depth to their improvised sessions: “The grooves are tighter, the band gets more exploratory and explosive…expect to feel like you were there when the songs were done live in the studio and you’ve got the band playing right beside you. It’s all about feeling the band, the energy and the passion.”
This May, the album was introduced with the release of its first single entitled “Beau baptême,” the three-piece’s debut Bonsound release. Expressing an author’s psychological journey towards a task to be completed, the track is inspired by the genesis of ideas, the way they are born, and the opinions we form from them.
On the new album, Electrons libres du quebec, being the label Bonsound’s 100th release, the band remarks:
“It’s a honor we must say! We had no idea until they told us that it’s going to be the 100th release. Looks nice on the side of the record cover, that’s for sure.”
Population II’s upcoming LP is available to pre-order/pre-save now. The album will also be available on a limited edition ‘’Yellow Snow’’ vinyl via Bonsound. Stay tuned for the full record, out October 6 via all DSPs.
- September 16 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall ^
- September 17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom & Tavern – SOLD OUT ^
- September 18 – Detroit, MI – El Club ^
- September 20 – Boston, MA – Royale ^
- September 22 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw ^
- October 5 – Québec City, QC – Sala Rossa – Album Release Show
- October 10 – Québec City, QC – Le Pantoum – Album Release Show w/ Motherhood
- October 21 – Saint-Hyacinthe, QC – Le Zaricot *
^ Supporting OSEES
* Double Bill with Yoo Doo Right
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