Catalog #TER109
ReleaseW 17 - 2023
FormatVinyl - Vinyl
 € 28,99 incl. VAT, excl. shipping


  1. entrance music
  2. second judy
  3. Underneath My Toe
  4. little miss timmy
  5. barbara it s your tree
  6. begin again
  7. always a lover
  8. to live on carrots
  9. i am brave
  10. dog needs love
  11. yoohoo
  12. are you breathing
  13. no effort to exist
  14. little guy
  15. 7


With Cruisin', their second album for Telephone Explosion, Toronto's Bernice distils their playful sense of composition resulting in the most affecting collection of their young career. Across fifteen tracks, a special kind of contemporary, jazz-inflected pop unfolds, miraculous for being both fun and musically adventurous, all in the name of emotional resonance. Each groove in the bassbin is matched by a little scratch at the listener's heartstrings. The album was recorded at home with Phil Melanson (Sam Gendel, Andy Shauf) and Thom Gill (Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Joseph Shabason), led by songwriter and vocalist Robin Dann (Martha Wainwright) and producer Matthew Pencer, with additional contributions from longtime members Dan Fortin and Felicity Williams (Bahamas) being captured remotely.

Throughout their eleven years as a group, working at the intersections of several scenes and spotlights (many of which begin and end at Toronto's beloved Tranzac Club), Bernice have developed an idiosyncratic musical language that feels immediately inviting and wonderfully refreshing. The group's two previous releases, Eau De Bonjourno (2021) and Puff: In The Air Without A Shape (2018) received generous nods from both Stereogum and Pitchfork, who described the music as "unusually mesmerizing". With the songcraft a little more crystalline and the vulnerability notched up, Cruisin' feels like the right record to open Bernice up to a much wider audience.

Development of the album began in Spring, 2021 during a writing retreat at the family farm in Bond Head, Ontario. Members of the band luxuriated in slow time, tinkering with lyrics and melodies, sharing meals, knitting. From this communal gathering, the concept of 'dedication' emerged as a guiding theme. Specifically, developing songs in an almost epistolary form; as love letters or check-ins for friends, community members, pets and other more elusive acquaintances (a longtime working title for the project was 'Songs For People').

Lead single 'Underneath My Toe', one of the first pieces developed under this theme, finds the group at their most graceful and direct. Beginning with songwriter/vocalist Robin Dann singing simply 'Hi / I miss you all the time', the composition proceeds to shift subtly between soft jazz balladry and low-bit funk, revelling in the intimate beauty of a long-time-no-see letter to a dear old friend.

Though being a band that so deeply values the art of fartin' around, Bernice couldn't settle on such a straightforward approach. During the creative process, a clarifying question arose: 'Can you cruise to it?'. This somewhat ambiguous aesthetic criteria became a guiding light for the album. 'Sure, it's a beautiful song about building trust with a new nonagenarian friend... but can you cruise to it?'.

Case in point, both follow up singles, 'No Effort To Exist' and 'Second Judy', fall into a more nebulous, bewildering category of song. Undoubtedly affecting, emotionally charged, existentially searching, yet also undeniably juicy. Drum patterns skitter into place while synth tones shift on a dime to meet thematic twists. There's errant whistling and curious overdubs. Then in come elegant backing vocals, elevating the narrative while an unlikely, left-field groove is established. Miraculously, the listener is not just moved, but Cruisin'.

Therein lies the marvel of Bernice: they remind us that the rec room funk of Mario Kart 64 need not exist in mutual exclusivity to a rich tapestry of human emotions. Even as we live through this most cursed timeline, we can look into the heart of things, dwell on the challenges we're called to witness, and find a little levity to carry us through; grab a lil' mushroom and cruise the existential soup.

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