Memphis I Dreamed We Fell Apart

Memphis I Dreamed We Fell Apart
Always too youthful, too forward or too clichéd, pop music’s never been very good at love. And now, forces such as superficiality, sales and literalism have driven contemporary pop to set a dreary new benchmark, developing what appears to be an anti-talent, or even an aversion to anything remotely amatory. Coldplay is unpalatably trite, Julian Casablancas brays lines like "I never needed anybody/It won’t change now,” and (seraphs help us!) Morrissey’s back. Of course, there are love paramedics charging their love defibrillators in the backs of love ambulances. One such man is Torquil Campbell, as exhibited by his work with Stars, Broken Social Scene, and now, with Memphis (a legitimate band consisting of Campbell and multi-instrumentalist Chris Dumont). The duo’s debut, I Dreamed We Fell Apart, sounds convincingly similar to a dream, or at least a crepuscular spectre, drifting in and out of disparate modes, bound by the single thread of romance — both formed and dissolved. Serge Gainsbourg haunts the wispy "Into the Wild” and "Hey Mister, Are You Awake?” Doleful flutes and electro flourishes tribute youth’s flighty fancies on "For Anyone Eighteen.” A cover of the spoony Pet Shop Boys’ "Love Comes Quickly” even pops up late in the affair. It may not be fashionable, but it is sweet.

How did you and Chris Dumont come together? Campbell: We’ve been friends for so long and I come out [to Vancouver] every summer to do Shakespeare plays and we just write all summer and ride our bikes around. The songs we wrote just grew into something that we felt was worth releasing.

What was the recording process like? Chris did it all on a laptop, so whatever apartment we were staying in at the time was the studio. There must have been ten or 15 apartments involved. And I think you can hear that kind of ghostlike sound, because when we were making it we felt like we were in a dream or living other people’s lives.

The album has a very romantic feel; would you say that you and Chris are Romantics? I get accused of being romantic on a daily basis. I am romantic but I’m also very cynical and dark. The whole Interpol aesthetic of "let’s get a severe haircut and bang our drums” seems very adolescent. And I think romance is a term that couches a sophistication. I just see life as being very beautiful and the possibility of people being in love, or out of love, is a very dramatic thing and I guess that makes me a Romantic. But I mean, the Nazis were Romantics, so it’s not always a complimentary term. (Paper Bag)