reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Decoration Day describe themselves as “Members from different galaxies brought together in Toronto”, which in a way encapsulates the spirit of Toronto as a whole, but moreover is audible in the mix of unconventional instruments and careful variation on the five songs found on Blind Contour. The band’s debut EP may be short, but each three-minute parcel crafts a gentle world that invokes rain hitting windows, meadow grass jumping in the breeze, and quiet pondering on the nature of post-relationship standings.
Despite including a bass clarinet, harmonium, vibraphone, and marimba, Blind Contour never pushes too heavy or circuitous and instead uses the atypical instrumentation for a swooning effect. The bass clarinet adds a sense of regality to “Underwater”, while rich, somber melodies on “Out Of The Unknown” play a more keen and minimal part that initiates gentleness.
“Until” — the EP’s single — models a heavier, lower-register sound. The held notes create a sombreness that feels classical in its creation of mood. Blind Contour is created in the wake of band members Justin Orok and Tiffany Wu’s breakup, and this song holds the weight of those emotions most prominently.
Though the six-piece collective make out to be from separate galaxies, the folk-pop tones are reminiscent of Suzanne Vega and are often characterized by a strong earthiness, perhaps because of the restraint that feels so careful and specific. The closest we come to otherworldliness is the near-incongruous layers of “Trouble Leaving”, which spawns a sense of curiosity as the album comes to a close.
For a debut built on heartbreak, Blind Contour is remarkably structured. Decoration Day invite you into a small world where the shattered pieces of a broken heart fall like rain and eventually lead to flowers.
Top Track: “Until”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)