Friday, March 04, 2022

Dance the stress away with Former Lives’ latest single

'Cordon Sanitaire’ is the latest dreamy track from the genre-breaking Former Lives, a project started by multi-instrumentalist Sean Joseph Klassen (and his dog, Bruce Beagle). 

Former Lives shared via their SoundCloud that this track “wrestles with the desire for isolation because of all this fear and anxiety” that people feel about the world which can be seen across all genres of music. This desire is tackled head-on in the chorus with the lyrics “let’s stay inside today and pretend we’re ok” and “let’s not go out tonight and pretend we’re alright”. 

An unintentional collaboration, ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ features the voice of Former Lives’ close friend Madison Savary Fenton. Her voice has a lightness that adds to the dreamy vibe of the track, singing with delicate control. Both Former Lives and Madison join and sing in unison for the painfully catchy chorus, perfectly capturing the way the current culture is to accept anxiety and stress about the world but push through it as if everything is fine. 

Former Lives shows this by reflecting on worldwide anxiety from a more open-minded and upbeat perspective. The music mirrors this, as the track starts with powerful and upbeat chords that then get contrasting lyrics layered over the top- “I bite my nails till the end of days” and “where my teeth start crumbling from the decay”. 

Around the two minute mark, the track is peeled away, providing an interlude of high piano to a backdrop of lo-fi rain sounds. These twenty seconds momentarily leave the listener alone with their thoughts and potential anxiety. We ponder in this in-between for a moment before the track literally spirals and jumps back to life, with Madison brazenly declaring “we’re moving on” which gets repeated for around a minute until the end. The fade-out ending also lends itself to this idea of moving on but that constant feeling of anxiety still lingering in the background. 

The ending itself locks listeners in a trance- Madison’s light and airy harmonies, groovy drum beats, and mesmerising guitar riffs are the perfect way to bring the track to a close, whilst still leaving it open. 

With such a unique, genre-crossing sound and three solid tracks behind them, there’s no doubt that what comes next from Former Lives will be introspective and relatable as well as endlessly catchy. 

Robyn Hill


Image: ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ Official Single Cover

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