By Kennedy Pawluk
EDMONTON – Girl/Vices, the solo project of Edmonton’s Grace Papineau-Couture, is in a world of its own. The solo project began in 2016 with a debut EP, Pattern Breathing. As we enter into 2018, Papineau-Couture graces us with a more cohesive yet still delicate effort, Leech.
“The difference (from the last release) is apples and oranges,” says Papineau-Couture. “The last one was just all over the place, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. Like I was trying to be a different songwriter than I actually am so, this just doesn’t even sound anything like the last. The last album helped me figure out what I didn’t like about what I was doing mostly. Here I just run the other way.”
Sonically the deeply emotional musical concept displays itself much more prominently throughout the record and there’s a flow between the songs that may be the album’s strongest point.
“I do like to heavily consider a sonic and visual aesthetic but if something works it works,” explains Papineau-Couture. “I feel like the concept kind of developed itself when I realized everything had a similar sort of feeling behind it. It was a lot more natural.”
The writing process for Girl/Vices on Leech also provided a shift and expansion from the process of her past work.
“I learned new tunings so I’m not relying on open E anymore,” she admits. “It’s just refreshed my playing and I’m coming up with new and exciting things. Like I used to think I had to be some dude looking to shred on guitar until I realized I can just be as minimal as humanly possible. There was a really weird point in time I would just sit down and hammer things out. The last time it was just much more manic and stressed; I was really uptight. This time I was much more relaxed and tired about it.”
This statement proves most true on Leech’s standout track “Bloom.” The track sits on a very spaced out percussive riff repeated throughout. Papineau-Couture’s lo-fi, delayed vocals effortlessly add to the spacey riffs while delivering melodic interludes. It’s a very minimalistic effort that never bores, accentuating Girl/Vices’ emotionally fragile aspects.
“The weather influences me a lot more than I care to admit, so that’s a heavy theme,” she reveals. “It’s more of an emotional sort of feeling about what the weather does to your insides and what living in fucking tundra eight months of the year does to a person. The songs are pretty emotional because of it. Sometimes it’s nonsense, sometimes it’s just words that sounds nice in succession to try and emphasize the fact that sometimes lyrics don’t matter at all, and what you’re hearing is part of the sonic experience rather than anything having a true sort of meaning.”
Overall Leech emphasizes all of the strong aspects of a live Girl/Vices performance. The EP does an astounding job of showcasing the honest and thinly veiled efforts of Papineau-Couture that have become key aspects of her set and music as a whole. Leech is a Girl/Vices product that shines a light on an artist finding her stride and developing a sound and musical experience all her own.
The new Girl/Vices album is out on Double Lunch Records February 2nd with a corresponding show at the Sewing Machine Factory the same evening. Support by Smokey and Lovelet.Double Lunch Records, Girl/Vices, Grace Papineau-Couture, Leech, Pattern Breathing, Sewing Machine Factory