reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
When you visit the Facebook page for Syzzors, the first thing you might notice is the cover photo of a green neon sign displaying the band name in smooth cursive. This feels like an appropriate image to reflect the blend of 80s-style pop and dreamy silk-sounds of Syzzors’ third EP, Unknown Within. The Montreal-based quartet use bountiful sound to sustain their optimistic pop, and in only four songs create the full sense of an album.
If there is one thing that strikes instantly with Syzzors, it is the ability that each element has to become more than itself. From the bouncy guitar line of “First” which creates the effect of three guitars bouncing off each other, to the way vocal layering makes Raphaëlle Chouinard’s voice sound like a chorus by the end of “Everlasting” and “Salt Lake”, the four piece becomes a retro-pop symphony with technical grace. Sidestepping the modern indie affinity for minimalism, Syzzors use a precision of rhythmic vocals and Gabriel’s unique beats to create a sense of nostalgia as it intersects with a strong dose of pop.
Aside from the scope that these tracks grow to, there is also an ardent aliveness. Lisandre’s synths on “Everlasting” move like lungs, inhaling and exhaling while the heartbeat of the vocals race onwards. “Ruby” provides a sonic foil by moving in and out with a more natural sense: the tide meeting rocks rather than the steadiness of lungs. When “Salt Lake” concludes the album, there is a consciousness of reflection of the internal. “It’s the anxiety, you can’t deny it, you can’t, it’s in the back of your mind all the time,” Raphaëlle sings as synths chime and the drums find a beat that careens between hushed and snappy.
Syzzors have the strong gift of being able to run with the vitality inherent to pop music, and they use intensity and continuous growth on Unknown Within to blur the line between dance-pop and dream-pop, landing somewhere steady and alive.
Top Track: “First”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)