Sound Advice: Bishop Morocco
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Sound Advice: Bishop Morocco

Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.

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What the Netherlands has done to Bishop Morocco is really quite lovely; years after old friends Jake Fairley and James Sayce started haphazardly playing electronic-influenced music in Toronto’s west end together, they reconvened overseas. What they’ve brought back to town on their self-titled debut is a refreshingly understated collection of gloom-pop songs that play with indie rock structures and dreamy Euro dance textures and pay more than an appreciative nod to old favourites.
Between their first and second musical pairings, Fairley and Sayce branched out into different ends of musical experimentation; Fairley moved to the Netherlands and became a dance music producer under the name Fairmont, while Sayce got his rocks off in the awesome Deadly Snakes and with John Reichmann in Tangiers. Bishop Morocco isn’t so much a combination of the two, instead pulling overall at more universal pop sensibilities, like in the gorgeous, shoegazey “Townies.” The disparate influences are apparent on album opener “White City” (streaming above); a thin, surprisingly proto-punk guitar jangle starts it off, but the underlying element appears in the dense, hazy, ’60s-radio-pop harmonies that fill the chorus, and just when this homage gets comfortable, everything cuts to let the small new-wave drum machine do its thing.
The darker spells on Bishop Morocco are so Manchester, and those of us forever helpless to Joy Division won’t mind the obvious hat-tip of “Our Time,” nor will we argue with the layered eccentricity of the Depeche Mode meets Talking Heads weirdness of the scraping, ascending “Eddie.” Oh, and if you’ve still got room for involuntary swooning, first single “Last Year’s Disco Guitars” is total Psychedelic Furs in their finest moments of Brat Pack accompaniment. File this one under cute cred—Bishop Morocco‘s Mary-Stuart-Masterson intensity is never suffocating nor its Molly-Ringwald wistfulness too twee. Either way, they get the proverbial girl.

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