Look Vibrant have a bright, noisy future

How two Toronto bros moved to Montreal, busked in the metro and made music about bromance.

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Look Vibrant
It’s a joyous moment when two best buddies reunite. Look Vibrant have committed that feeling to tape.

Matthew Murphy and Justin Lazarus are two 20-year-old Toronto natives now settled in Montreal. They’ve been making music together since before their teens, but it wasn’t until they went their separate ways and reconvened a year later on the Plateau that Look Vibrant’s ebullient, overdubbed odes to their bromance exploded from their MacBooks.

In the group’s seven months or so of existence, they’ve recorded four songs on two cassette tapes. The punchy pop nuggets are packed to the gills with lo-fi sonic fragments. They’re as harsh as they are charming.

“There are a bunch of melodies layered and layered, to give it that wash,” says Murphy.

“The idea is that you’re supposed to get lost in the noise of it, but upon several listens you’ll notice there are a lot of intricate parts you’re hearing,” adds Lazarus.

To give a sense of how much of a fracas these two friends can make, their song “Plateau,” an optimistic number written upon Murphy’s arrival in Montreal — when he was crashing on Lazarus’ couch — features over 100 layers. There’s Murphy’s guitar, Lazarus’ synth, programmed drums and bass and the coup de grace: enough overdubs to simulate a noisy army of houseguests.

“The parts were recorded through laptop microphone speakers, so all the tracks by themselves had this weak, dinky sound,” says Lazarus. “But once you added some effects and tonnes of overdubs, the sounds became grandiose.”

“Plateau” and new A-side “Sweater in the Lake” — the idea of which came to Lazarus in a dream at a time when he was working the overnight shift at Segal’s Market on St-Laurent — sound at home in their chaotic original states, but the duo can play stripped down renditions as well.

The two university students picked up the skill busking in the metro last summer.

“We’d come up with ideas while busking, or we’d come up with ideas at home, and try them out while busking,” says Murphy. “It was a great way to try out material, and a good incentive to write more songs.”

On stage, Look Vibrant are a five-piece, and the pair say the concert this Saturday will include some cool projections too. They’ll be releasing new music in 2014, although they’re unsure whether it will be a debut full-length, or more tapes. ■
Look Vibrant’s tape release rally, with openers Oh No! Yoko and Saxsyndrum, happens at Cabaret Playhouse (5656 Parc) on Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 p.m., PWYC

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