With a new EP and a wealth of In­ter­net buzz, Toronto’s Jaunt are ready to paint the town just about ev­ery colour

Sharp - - ON THE RECORD - By Chris Hamp­ton


‘Room Ser­vice’ at East Room is an in­vite-only per­for­mance in­cu­ba­tor. This se­ries was pre­vi­ously home to both Jazz Cartier and Daniel Cae­sar’s de­but al­bum shows, a promo show for Boys­lash­friend’s up­com­ing EP re­lease, Lion Babe’s last stop on tour, as well as Melo-x’s first of­fi­cial show in Toronto, pre­ced­ing his pro­duc­tion role on Bey­oncé’s lat­est al­bum, Lemon­ade. Oth­ers in­clude A.chal, Char­lotte Cardin, Jesse Boykins III, Dana, Khru­ang­bin and more.

WHEN JAUNT GUI­TARIST PAT O’BRIEN de­scribes Chat, the Toronto band’s first re­lease, he calls it “very pink.” It’s warm and com­fort­able and cheery — the laid­back and late-night bed­room pop of two song­writ­ers brought to­gether by a mu­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Stere­o­lab, Arthur Rus­sell, and R&B from the late ‘90s and early aughts. “Gen­tle Re­minder,” the song that, ac­cord­ing to O’brien, set the tem­plate for their sound, con­tains a re­work of Usher’s “U Re­mind Me” al­most like some dec­la­ra­tion of in­tent.

Think­ing of the new ma­te­rial the band’s record­ing, it’s all blues and greens now, O’brien says. “I don’t have synes­the­sia or any­thing, but I def­i­nitely as­so­ciate mu­sic with colours. And this time it’s pas­tel shades of blue; it’s a royal green.” The new EP, set for re­lease this fall, is darker and more mus­cu­lar, he says. It’s marked by growth: the evo­lu­tion from a two-man record­ing project filled out by ad­di­tional mem­bers for the live for­mat to a full five-piece col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort. It ad­ven­tures into new depths for Jaunt.

“Any­time you come see us,” O’brien says, “I can al­most guar­an­tee you’ll be see­ing some­thing new.” The band has a large cat­a­logue of un­re­leased ma­te­rial that’s its con­stantly re­vis­it­ing and re­vis­ing. Dur­ing a July show at Toronto’s East Room, it’s that new ma­te­rial that most fully wins the crowd, as the band leans harder into their dance mu­sic in­flu­ences and snaps from surfy re­verb rock­ers into a taut funk ensem­ble.

Where pre­vi­ously the band re­lied on a lot of sam­ples, its synths and per­cus­sion have be­come more or­ganic. There are bon­gos and cabasas, dif­fer­ent rhythms. O’brien’s been on a 1970s Don­ald Byrd kick, he says — “good jazz fu­sion,” too — which “is pretty in­spir­ing when it comes to writ­ing per­cus­sion.” And there’s a new em­pha­sis on per­cus­sion. They’ve been lis­ten­ing to a lot of left-field disco and house, some New Jer­sey boo­gie. He men­tions a par­tic­u­lar track by the L.A. group Kly­maxx, which he de­scribes not-pe­jo­ra­tively as “‘80s cheese.” There’s an au­di­ble ap­pre­ci­a­tion, team-wide, for Sade and the so­phisti-pop and quiet storm aes­thet­ics of that era.

“I like hav­ing sounds that aren’t as mu­si­cal next to melodic things,” he de­scribes. Jaunt has al­ways been in­ter­ested in that sort of jux­ta­po­si­tion: the fa­mil­iar and the not. “I just want peo­ple to have an in­ter­est­ing time lis­ten­ing to our mu­sic.” And this is the new pal­ette they’ve pre­pared for us.

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