NXNE ’13: Bernice @ The Piston – June 12, 2013

June 24, 2013 No comments
Written by Dustin Cordeiro

photo via http://www.bernicemusic.com/pictures.html

Crafting a tangible atmosphere seems like second nature for Toronto R&B outfit, Bernice, who showcased their dreamy sound at The Piston on NXNE’s first night of music. Before they could begin their set, front-woman Robin Dann gracefully held sway over the crowd (with some jokes you’ve probably heard your uncle tell last Christmas), as minor technical difficulties were resolved. But allaying the wait was easy with Dann’s cool confidence, which carried over into her embodiment of the band’s music.

‘Laid back’ and ‘chill’ would be easy descriptors of Bernice’s soulful electronic songs, but imbuing them with a distinct quality takes some keen vocal work by Dann. Her voice can fluently drift from a breathy hover to a sudden fullness the whole room can feel. Stand-out track “New Bodies,” perhaps best displayed Dann’s command – both over her own vocal ability and the crowd’s interest, as she climbed the song’s glowing chorus — “If you shoot an arrow and it goes pretty hard…” — before the enchanted audience.

But if only one song were to stay with you after leaving for the rest of the night, it would surely be “Body Motivation,” which featured another crescendo chorus seated alongside a pair of breezy pop verses. The song had an airy jazz pace to it, but their lounge-y R&B side came into full effect with “How to be French,” both through the groovy bass line and the whirly keyboard work (Thank Yeezus the midi cable ended up working).

With summer well underway, Bernice is the perfect soundtrack for lovers of Little Dragon, Poliça and maybe even Purity Ring with their fairytale-like charm, each fantastical line more alluring than the last.

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