Exclaim!'s Staff Picks:​ Mise en Scene Look for a Little Softness on 'Reality Bites'

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 28, 2023

"So what, I'm a girl interrupted?" Mise en Scene's Stefanie Blondal-Johnson snarls in a soft, lived-in way — reminiscent of a well-worn thrifted sweater that has clung to many chests over the years — off the top of "Nicer." It's a plea for just a little bit more of that softness in the world, and much of Reality Bites, Blondal-Johnson's latest EP with musical partner Jodi Mise (see what they did there?), can serve as such: a damning indictment of the way growing up disappoints us in comparison to its cinematic rendering, like in the 1994 film they lifted the collection's title from.

Across six tracks of charming, guitar-heavy pop à la Best Coast, the Winnipeg duo amalgamate a classic-sounding bedrock of song structure and organic instrumentation with lyrics taking aim at coming into adulthood in the modern era — name-dropping the steam coming out of our ears with the pummelling "Burn Out" and the whirling glow of digital relationships on "Beautiful People." Reality does indeed bite, but remembering that other people are dealing with the same struggles softens its teeth.

(Light Organ Records)

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