Nothing beats a surprise, especially when it comes in the form of a fully realized, fully loaded new band. Take Milwaukee’s Canopies, for instance: On the band’s self-titled debut EP, the synth slingers burst out of the gate with five tracks of terrific, infectious electro-pop. It’s an album clearly indebted to a proto-new-wave past full of murky ’80s dance clubs, but still shot through with a spirit of post-millennial dance parties. It’s also one hell of an opening salvo.
John Marston and Nolan Treolo form the band’s core and, along with drummer Craig Leren, already seem to be a notch above the current chillwave high-water mark. The group’s songs are anything but gauzy, unfocused psychedelia. Lead-off track “Rebels” is effortlessly stuffed with dreamy, straight-up pop hooks, and “Strangers Glare” does well by a driving, insidiously catchy chorus. Elsewhere, some pronounced influences are given a fresh coat of paint. There’s a welcome hint of ’90s synth revivalists The Pulsars bubbling in the pitch-perfect “Warrior,” a song that casts Canopies’ poppier sensibilities in the best possible light. Meanwhile, album highlight “Born To Your Device” takes its cues from the pulsing foundation of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11” and bends the tune into a whoozy, off-kilter dance track.
It’s hard to say if Canopies could possibly sustain this kind of momentum for an entire full-length album, or how the band’s sound might translate into a live setting. Questions of the future aside, this all-to-brief EP stands as a thrilling introduction to a wholly unexpected new talent.
The EP can be streamed or downloaded at the group’s website.