reviewed by Michael Thomas
Negative space in artwork is all the space between the subject of a piece. On the cover of Bridal Party’s latest EP, we see a group of people and a lot of negative space. In fact, despite all these people being so close together, it appears none of them are interested in interacting with each other.
That album cover illustrates the theme of this EP: even though there are billions of people on Earth, there’s an emotional distance between most of us. It’s not just romantic relationships either, though that’s covered in songs like “Fruitless” and “Man of One of my Dreams.” If you’ve ever worked retail, you’ll encounter swaths of people every day and occasionally learn about their lives, but most will come and go. You’ll never see them or know them again.
Bridal Party drenches these musings in incredibly slick, dreamy pop music. In “Makes Me Wanna,” for instance, we hear about “your dead,” which could be literal or figurative. How much do we think about them? Whatever the case may be, the song is a psychedelia-tinged soundscape of waves of synth and jangly guitars. Vocal harmonies make the song even prettier, despite the sad lyrical content and specific images (“Peeled grapefruit and orange juice is all there was” is way too precise to be made up).
In “Fruitless,” which I’ve covered previously, love is not possible “in this economy,” and the song hits the sweet spot of groovy pop. In the more slow-burning “Tips,” the synths provide a dreamy haze as people come and go through a coffee shop. One man deeply misses his wife; a woman says she’s been at the hospital far too much for one lifetime. It’s deeply saddening but balanced so perfectly with the dreamy instrumentation.
“Man of One of my Dreams” reflects on how certain experiences and images have changed with the absence of a lover, and the sparse strums of guitar help to add that bit of negative space between the former couple. Things have changed but the narrator is under no illusion that this person was “the one.” We end the EP with the instrumental “Tokyo,” a gentle mix of keys and drums and jazzy guitar. It’s the final bit of negative space between the stories you’ll hear and you.
So think about it: how much negative space is there between you and the people you work with? How about your friends? And what are you going to do about it?
Top Track: “Makes Me Wanna”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)