Tops have been operating on the fringe of the musical dialogue since their inception, with their music reserved to a small, devoted following. “Easy Friends” managed to garner a slight bit of attention back when Tender Opposites was released in 2012, with most attention going to lead singer Jane Penny. Her commanding yet playful vocal performance hinted at an artist with a singular voice, and their latest confirms the initial projections for the Montreal four-piece.
“Outside” skates along with remarkable ease behind a steady beat and Penny’s soft, deliberate vocalization. The song accurately captures all the emotions of a fading romantic flame, and when Penny sings, “but when I look into your eyes / you see something I’m trying to hide,” she lifts the veil over all of us. The song ends with a wistful, grounded guitar solo, not too far removed from Real Estate’s understated instrumentation. With a few more years of performing under their belt, Tops seem to have locked in on something pretty special, a successful joining of their previous appeal with a sound even more fit towards their strengths.
Tops new album Picture You Staring is out 2 September via Arbutus.