On our most recent concert road trip, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to acquaint ourselves better with the music of Montréal-based Groenland. The band joined Guelph’s Lowlands for a dual album release mini-tour, and we caught them live at the Elora Brewing Co. (Watch for our recap of that show later this week.)
I’m the first to admit that I’ve always been a sucker for music with varied instrumentation. Groenland includes a cellist and violinist in their lineup, and the music makes full use of their skills. What caught my attention in particular during their live set was the use of pizzicato as a percussive element – it fills that sonic space so well that the listener might be hard-pressed to notice that there is no guitarist in the group.
All six members of the group are hugely talented musicians and their abilities shine in both albums the group has recorded to date. Their first project, “The Chase,” begins with the rhythmic “Our Last Shot” – keyboard, pizzicato strings, and percussion all blended together in an irresistible mix. Other songs such as “Superhero,” which opens with lead singer Sabrina Halde on fingerstyle ukulele, and “La pieuvre” (with lyrics in English, despite the title) provide an interesting slant on the category of “indie pop” with which they describe themselves.
Groenland’s second release, “Wider Space,” which came out in September, demonstrates a clear trajectory of growth for the band, with more sophisticated lyrics and instrumentation (including horns, for which I’m also a sucker). The use of keyboards provides an 80s synth feel, but the strings, horns, and ukulele offer a definite organic counterpoint that makes Groenland’s music both unique and delightful.
Seen live, the band delivers their music with a joy and verve that are infectious. (They are also utterly charming if you are fortunate enough to meet them.) If you like unique pop music that will leave you tapping your feet, you can find no better group to try than Groenland. We highly recommend them.