Given how Still Life Still emerged in 2009 with its sex-drenched, party-inspired debut Girls Come Too, one might be surprised by the thematic shifts in 2013’s ominously titled follow-up, Mourning Trance.
But then, those shifts become much more clear, given what the Toronto band has endured during the four years since that introduction. Together since grade school, Brendan Saarinen (vocals/guitar), Eric Young (vocals/guitar), Derek Paulin (bass), Aaron Romaniuk (drums) and Josh Romaniuk (keyboards/percussion) are as much a family as a band. And during the writing of Mourning Trance, three members of that extended family – including both of Young’s parents – passed away.
So Mourning Trance became about loss and family, but also about coping and finding a way to enjoy life through all of the exhaustion. It’s an album about waking up every morning, working eight hours, and still finding a way to celebrate surviving another day.
In Still Life Still’s case, that way was the only one the band knows – writing and playing music with best friends. The end result of that process is a weird, beautiful pop record, inspired by, and in honour of the brilliance and absurdity of real life. Those bittersweet experiences continue to be what drives the band and record.
Mourning Trance is a wake for the living, and a celebration for all that’s left.