Toronto electronic duo, Cubs Refrain, is reimagining synthpop as a dynamic rock subgenre, combining retro synth tones with driving rhythms and harmoniously edgy indie-rock vocals.
Influenced by groups like CHVRCHES, Metric, and Muse, band members Erin Roblin and Jordan Shew utilize analogue synthesizers and electronic music production techniques to create their signature “wall of synths” sound.
Cubs Refrain’s debut concept album, “Tell Me You Love Me” (2018), was praised as “indie-pop perfection” (Live In Limbo) and “a rapturous work of vivid passion, heartfelt intensity and vehement romanticism“ (Turn Up The Volume). With their latest recording, the duo is straying from the themes of romantic desire and despair, focusing instead on mental health and introspection.
The duo’s upcoming single, “Never Enough”, releases July 24, 2020. Jordan’s exasperated, gritty vocals punch through their towering wall of sound – a jarring departure from his smooth, Muse-like vocals that ease the tension felt throughout the track. The song’s production mirrors the juxtaposed message of putting up a confident front while living in uncertainty; the uplifting groove working in contrast to the lyrical themes of anxiety and isolation.
Jordan mixes and produces all of the band’s material in his home studio where they do most of their recording. In addition to the breadth of synth sounds, many of their tracks also feature electric guitar, cello, and any inanimate object Jordan can get a noise out of.
Over the past two years, Cubs Refrain has brought their elaborate synth production to life, performing at Riverfest Elora, Canadian Music Week, Indie Week and independent shows across Southern Ontario. Dedicated to carving out their own aesthetic, Cubs Refrain is creating richly layered arrangements that build with their contrasting voices to embody a new genre of synth-rock for youthful boldness.
CUBS REFRAIN IN THE NEWS!
“A laser light show come to life.”
-Sound Chips, song of the week March 19 2018
-Live In Limbo
“A swirling electro pop score with multiple sonic layers.
Rich arrangements, fervent vocals and an overall towering synths orchestration.”
-Turn Up The Volume
“Chaotically bold, optimistic, and conveys a level of strange confidence that we often lose as we grow older.”
“Tell Me You Love Me’ is a gripping work of fervent passion, zealous intensity and vital romanticism.”
-Turn Up The Volume
Featured artist on That Buzzing Sound, The Iscream, Still Spinning,
SoundZine, Find A Song, and Turn Up The Volume.