Bernard + Edith – Poppy (EP Review)

Poppy, the latest EP from Manchester band Bernard + Edith, plays like a beautiful, immersive oblivion. Each track pulls you further into their mysterious realm, never satisfying, begging repeated listening.

The titular opiate does seem to be an inspiration for the alluring yet haunting EP and the single by the same name, which kicks off the record. “Poppy says she loves me and I’m feeling right,” moans singer Greta Carroll, over and over. This an obsessive addiction of a love–reflected in the slightly epileptic video for the single, drawing on self-described influences of The Wizard of Oz, filmmaker David Lynch and the Black Lodge of 80s cult TV show Twin Peaks. A dark and voyeuristic vision, Carroll plays the object of obsession, camera fixed on her throughout while she croons and vogues for the one watching (or is it dreaming of?) her.

On “Poppy” and throughout the rest of the EP, Nick Delap crafts enveloping layers of reverberating riffs, 80s-level synth and percussion beneath Carroll’s vocals. Each track evokes a different mood, with everything tied together by the theme of fixation. Fitting with their fondness for Lynch, the EP has an emotionally narrative feeling, like a short film score, ending with the ambiguous yet intriguing “Car Window.” Bernard + Edith’s music is simple, repetitive, and modal at its core, but they play with dissonance, unusual sounds and juxtapositions that result in something slightly unsettling and altogether original.

Catch the band Friday, 9 May, at Birthdays in London.

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