“It’s the same old story that I can’t tell,” sings Gianna Lauren over and over on “Closed Chapter,” at the midpoint of Vanity Metrics, abandoning the jaunty melody she began with for a pulsing, dramatic drumbeat and expansive horns. Her own voice joins, then other voices, calling back on a loop, mimicking the patterns of a doomed relationship she’s finally learned to let go of—and you hear that exact moment, because the jaunty melody comes back for the final seconds, a bookend, maybe a kiss-off.
The same old story one can’t tell is also the act of art itself. Perhaps a coincidence, then, that here on her fourth release Lauren is at her art-rockiest, but that also may be in part thanks to the artists she was listening to as she weaved through the fog of Nova Scotia’s south shore to produce this EP: Some of indie-rock’s boldest voices and most insightful perspectives, like the heart-rending Mitski, the dramatics of Weyes Blood, the intimacy of Big Thief.
Lauren and her cohort of Ontarians stepped into the studio immediately after a two-week tour to make Vanity Metrics in four days, and that includes a pair of songs—“Closed Chapter” and the opener “Spark”—written that week. With the artist as bandleader, much of the album was recorded live off the floor, capturing an electricity fuelled by collaboration (and a touch of exhaustion).
The result is a collection of mid-tempo mood pieces informed by a well-acquainted band moving as a single unit, with Lauren’s electric guitar and cracked trumpet of a voice guiding it from the centre. The title refers to useless music industry data—followers you can buy, likes you can inflate, meaningless cartoon hearts you can tap—but Vanity Metrics is the opposite of inconsequential. It calls attention to all the intangibles, the immeasurables, the invisibles: Deeply expressed and felt feelings of love, loss, and disappointment. Self-reflection. Boundaries. Patterns. The same old story, told again in new ways.
SINGLES & RELEASE CALENDAR
September 25 – “Spark” Single
The lead single from Vanity Metrics was conceived in a late night studio writing session during the recording of the EP, centering around Lauren’s lyrics on social justice and struggling with feelings of helplessness about making real change. The band performance gradually intensifies throughout the song, amplifying the subject matter, but the choruses introduce an offer of hope and reconciliation with the sentiment “before I die, I will tell you, I love you.”
November 13 – Full EP
Jeff Kingsbury – drums
Julien Dussault – electric guitar
Greggory Clark – bass
Yolande Laroche – rhodes, wurlitzer
Pascal Huot – vocals on Disappear
Jennah Barry – vocals on Closed Chapter
Rebecca Zolkower – vocals on Whoa and Innocent Tourist
J.J. Ipsen – moog and synths on Spark and Whoa
Andy Magoffin – horns on Closed Chapter and Whoa
Gianna Lauren – vocals, electric guitar
Vocals on Innocent Tourist by Yolande, Pascal, Jeff, Julien, Greggory, Rebecca, and Gianna
Songwriting by Gianna Lauren and everyone listed here.
Thank you Nick Everett, Eliza Niemi, and Evan Matthews for the birth of Innocent Tourist.
Recorded (for the most part) live off the floor at Old Confidence Lodge in Mik’maq Territory
Mixed and Mastered by Andy Magoffin at The House of Miracles