Chains of Love sounds like an 1980s power ballad.
Well, umm… almost. Actually not really. Retro-ness? Check. Tunes about love and loss? Check. But that’s where the similarities die. This six-member Vancouver band — Nathalia Pizarro (vocals), Rebecca Marie Gray (vocals, guitar), Felix Fung (guitar), Brian Nicol (bass, guitar), Henry Beckwith (keyboards), Steve Ferreira (drums) — distorts Shangri La’s-style do-wop with modern garage grunge for a (finally) unique take on retro-inspired girl groups that sets them apart from others, like, say, The Vivian Girls.
Better. What’s their story?
Guitarist Fung wanted a girl group. But he’s a boy. So along with some of his musician guy friends, he recruited (locally) notorious Vancouver crooner Pizarro, plus the equally talented Gray, and got to jamming. The results: instrumentally interesting and vocally vibrant songs that went on to make quite a splash at SXSW this year (in the small-band circuit, that is) in a relatively short period of time.
So how are they different, exactly? There are so many “retro” bands these days.
Where most girl groups, or bands that invoke them, half-heartedly use the lo-fi production and “oooh woo” back-up vocals of days past and call it a day, Pizarro is so on-point she could be a long-lost Supreme, and the band itself is soulful with a capital S. More props for not going overboard on the kitsch — they’re not so much candy pop as just a little glossy. Plus, it’s all fuzzed out, with a spectral, surf goth undertone and solid drum accompaniment for grunge cred. Don’t call it a throwback — they’ll be far removed from oldies playlists, thankyouverymuch.
Fuzzy garage girl group. Sounds hot.
Yeah, and Pizarro is reportedly a killer frontwoman in live performances too. Their debut album dropped in March on their Bandcamp, but it comes to vinyl on June 11 (for all you real retroheads). Right now their promotion tour is making the rounds in Canada, but they’ll be in Philly on July 21, and hopefully adding more dates along the way. Because come July’s heat, we’ll all want a dose of something sweet and cool.