For many artists, the bedroom acts as a personal haven — a safe space for creative expression that bridges the gap between dreams and reality. Thursday night, Montreal duo Milk & Bone invited their audience to step into their own sacred space of dreamed-up electro pop — the fantasyland from whence their new album, Deception Bay, was born.
Setting the warm, reverb-heavy tone of the evening, Oshawa-based openers Dizzy's energetic frontwoman Katie Munshaw acted as a tether keeping the rest of the band from drifting off into what would have been an otherwise forgettable set marked by vocal-levels-that-could-have-been.
While Milk & Bone's longtime best friends Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne read each other's vocal nuances with tender ease, little casual banter was exchanged between the two of them — or the audience for that matter — leading to an overall sense of awkwardness and disengagement. The disconnect was evident after a lacklustre sing-along attempt, followed by the failed effort of the evening's "that guy," who tried to start an unprecedented clap-jam that no one cared to join. The clunkiness culminated when a pair of audience members climbed up on stage to dance for what ended up being an uncomfortable final ten seconds of a song in which no one really knew what was happening or why.
Poliquin and Lafond-Beaulne would go on to seamlessly deliver a number of tracks off their latest release, the pair's complementary tones emphasized beautifully by their signature harmonies and vocal effects. Blue droplets of light poured down around them during "Sad Eyes," creating the illusion of a magical underwater cave from which Camille's hauntingly pure vocals emerged. The effervescent "KIDS" proved another memorable moment of the evening, effectively relocating the crowd to a nostalgic era of college-age summer flings.
While Milk & Bone had evidently mastered their wave-like delivery, lulling and swelling into an explosive breakdown and lightshow that appeared three-quarters of the way through many of their songs, this formula became a repetitive shtick that exhausted itself well before the end of the night. Camille's voice acted as the guiding light of the evening, her pure, pitch-perfect wails holding our focus by injecting strikingly raw emotion into an otherwise predictable flow of energy.
Nearing the end of their set, the pair asked our permission to present us with remixed versions of old favourites from Little Mourning, offering a crowd-pleasing version of "Pressure." Indeed, the set proved rehearsed to the point of effortlessness, but much as their true-to-record sound was appreciated, the excitement of a certain freshness brought by a live performance seemed lost to this acute accuracy.
The duo will surely go on to deliver a tight and satisfying tour to their fans, however, their inaugural show begs the question as to whether Milk & Bone will leave a lasting impression, or simply become a hazy, forgotten dream among the masses.