Today, Montreal’s bilingual queer pop icon Maryze shares her much-anticipated debut album, 8 on Hot Tramp Records.
8 explores the interconnected parts of our past that shape our lives for the better or worse. Like the infinite looping of the number 8, the album observes how we repeat cycles and exist within pre-written narratives. Can we cut loose from toxic histories knotted tightly within us while still honouring our ancestors? How do our coping mechanisms protect us and how do they hold us back, rooting us to events we wish to grow away from? Maryze weaves together songs with themes of intergenerational family trauma, mental illness, identity, sexuality, ruptures, forgiveness and acceptance, performed in both English and French. Teaming up with other queer artists like Margo and Backxwash, and debuting her first self-produced tracks, she experiments with genres that have influenced her life, from emo and hyperpop to Celtic folk. Offering both maximalist electronic production and stripped-down ballads, 8 introduces Maryze’s modern electronic alt-pop, calling listeners to consider the roots and knots that exist within each of us.
The album was premiered via Under The Radar, who wrote: “With 8 Maryze shows off an incredible range as a songwriter and performer, calling to mind other genre-blurring pop stars like Rina Sawayama. Each track seems to dart in a new direction. The gorgeous acapella harmonies of “Mercy Key” make for a stark and powerful opening, leading into the sultry club-ready lead single, “Experiments.” Meanwhile, with “Unofficial” Maryze hints toward 2000s pop and R&B classics, recolored with a bright electronic coat of paint. Similarly, “Panoramic” offers a straight glossy pop banger, and “Too Late” arrives drenched with the irresistible pulse of ‘80s synth-pop.
Though most of the album is unified by glossy production and an ear for irresistible pop melody, Maryze also proves capable of some powerful left turns. “Emo” pays homage to Maryze’s rock roots, featuring massive guitars and live drumming while “Squellettes” diverts into noise-tinged industrial hip hop beats with a fiery feature from Backxwash. Finally, the record closes with a gorgeous and emotive piano ballad, “Playing Dress Up.”
For 8, Maryze worked with producers Solomon K-I, Margo, Tigerwing, Jeshway, and Korovo. Her longtime collaborator and partner Solomon K-I mixed and mastered the album, adding additional production touches to each track. Their breakup f*ck you anthem “Emo” pays homage to how they met while playing in a rock band, and features live drums from punk musician Graeme MacDonald, their former drummer. Maryze wanted to work on the project with artists who’ve been by her side for much of her music career, such as producer Korovo, who she was in the high school jazz choir with. Throughout the album, she also gives nods to her Celtic background (Irish and Breton), highlighted in the track Witness, produced by another Celtic artist Tigerwing. The album was recorded in Maryze and Solomon K-I’s home studio in Montreal.
8 is out now.