Everything seems to float through Secret Sun’s opening NXNE set at Yonge and Dundas Square on Saturday. The performance was the Montreal-based band’s first for the festival, though they had played in the city many times before.
Musically, they played ambient – almost spacial – indie rock, with synthetic percussion, echoey keys and ethereal, throaty vocals that had a habit of really grounding each and every song.
The band’s performance of ‘Neither Here Nor There’ was a perfect example of their paired-down sound. Echoey vocals and a synthetic drum added a drop-y feel to the music, while the keys and guitar offered an almost futuristic tinge.
Secret Sun was also unafraid to put their unique spin on modern songs, covering Rihanna’s ‘Diamond’ to great applause from the cloud. But even in their originals, the band offered more than floating ambient indie rock.
Take ‘Cold Coast’, the title track from their first (and only) album. It’s a more upbeat song, with the drums taking on a faster pace, and the keys ditching their usual echo. The vocals are still throaty and ethereal, but they get faster and faster before slowing slightly then stopping abruptly.
Still, the band’s slow melodic sound pervades their set, and while it should be boring on stage, it’s not. They really drive home their soft, slow, creeping aesthetic, yes, but they’re still playing the kind of music you could easily get lost to it (and into it for that matter).
What’s more, Secret Sun uses all the technologies available to them to but on a big huge show, even with just three members. I found myself glancing around the stage to figure out where that sound came from.
For more on Secret Sun, visit secretsun.bandcamp.com.