Bridal Party

Premiere: Bridal Party – Cool Down LP

Bridal Party
Photo by Jocasta Clarke

Cool Down is west coast art pop band Bridal Party’s most stylistically refined and emotionally resonant work to date. Serving groovy, hook-forward songwriting that elevates lead singer Suzannah Raudaschl’s generous and emotional vocals, the Canadian band’s sophomore LP synthesizes elements from historical epochs of pop since the 70’s, articulating a unique lyrical realism that oscillates between finding balance and letting go.

From the very first line, Raudaschl brings the listener into the room with her: “Take off my shoes / open the curtain to check out the hotel view” begins the opening track “Afterthought”. Inspired by an experience the songwriter had of being put up overnight by an airline after a flight cancellation, this being in-between also defines a recurring point of view. You can hear it in the fantasy love of “Daydream”, the indecision of “Baby Anymore”, and on the album’s title track in the precipice before the comedown, awash in vibey Juno synth pads and vocal harmonies.

To compose and record Cool Down, the members of Bridal Party began by writing separately, only later to chop up and rearrange each other’s demos. “The goal was to create songs that were not limited to just one person’s imagination about what the song could be” says guitarist Joseph Leroux. This became a necessity when the global pandemic prevented the band from working out arrangements in their rehearsal space. The resultant Cool Down is precise in its joyfulness and cathartic. “We wanted to write songs that you could dance to, as well as songs that could fit a more introspective mood at home,” says Raudaschl. “I think most songs do both.”

Raudaschl’s vocal melodies are inspired by dance and pop icons like Robyn and Caroline Polachek. She also regularly channels a songwriter like Joni Mitchell or Townes van Zandt, leading her lyrical juxtapositions out into open and impressionistic spaces: “This reflection cleared the way so my affinity to place / could settle like dust on / the kitchen counter” sings Raudaschl through from the last verse of “Afterthought” and into the track’s climactic bridge. On Cool Down, everyday crises are met with funky rhodes and swirls of vintage synthesizers, inspired by the innovative studio pop of groups like Steely Dan and Stereolab. 70’s soul-inspired guitar sets the stage for ruminations on addiction and comfort. A lounging psychedelia permeates. All of this is held together by a kinetic understanding the members of Bridal Party share, cultivated on the road and nourished in the studio. Cool Down emits a concentrated emotional energy that dances its way through the commonplace toward its most intimate details.

Bridal Party spans pop music’s omnivorous genre expanse with groovy precision, landing their hooks in just the right places to keep ears perked and crowds bobbing to their nostalgic yet contemporary sound.

Forming in 2015 amidst Victoria, British Columbia’s vibrant DIY scene of experimental club nights and vibrant house shows, Bridal Party began as a sharing of songs between vocalist Suzannah Raudaschl and guitarist Joseph Leroux. That effort culminated in the beachy, effusive Hot Daze EP, ripe with lighthearted bossa nova and indie rock references, while alluding to the end-of-the-world deliriousness that the fire season was imposing on the west coast. The project quickly expanded and now includes Adrian Heim on drums, Lee Gauthier on bass, and Jordan Clairmont on keyboards. 

In 2017, Bridal Party linked up with producer Connor Head to record Negative Space, including the band’s first breakout track, the cheekily melancholy “Fruitless”. Built from a guitar progression Leroux initially heard as a throw-away, “Fruitless” showcases Raudaschl’s vocal range and narrative wit, placing her stylistically somewhere between Joni Mitchel and Debbie Harry, distinct in her unpredictable yearning and melodic patterning. It also signalled the band’s stylistic shift towards 80’s and 90’s pop references, and a move towards a less guitar driven, more synthetic sound. In the wake of Negative Space,Beatroute Magazine called Bridal Party, “a perfect marriage of indie pop and soul.”

Over the next two years Bridal Party embraced DIY touring, sending themselves across Canada and down the west coast of the US multiple times, developing a reputation as a tight and experienced live act. The band began recording their debut LP Too Much in 2018, right after returning from their first tour. Informed by their experience on the road and painstakingly produced and mixed by bassist Lee Gauthier, Too Much came out on legendary Vancouver indie label Kingfisher Bluez, and is a record of the group’s growing pains both personally and stylistically. The album took Bridal Party to the #2 slot on the !earshot top 50 chart for two weeks and kept them in the top 50 for two months.

Now, Bridal Party is ready to drop a new record into what feels like a changed world. Their upcoming work speaks of interstitial moments, the pivot-points from which real change may emanate, and the deja vu that comes from realizing who one has always been. It is their most stylistically cognizant and emotionally resonant music to date.


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