Toronto synthpop duo Cubs Refrain’s debut Tell Me You Love Me landed with a bang in 2018. Band members Erin Roblin and Jordan Shew mixed electronic beats with analogue production to create a soaring sonic portrait of beauty and loss.

Influenced by M83, CHVRCHES and Metric, the album’s 14 tracks tell a story of doomed early love, with each song marking a step in their journey through the desire and despair of romantic awakening.

Roblin and Shew communicate with the ease of life-long friends, with admiration of each other’s musicianship having brought them together. The sugar and sand effect of their respective vocal stylings add an electric tension to the tracks, and their commitment to the tenets of live performance keeps their recordings spontaneous.

Shew mixed and produced the album after he and Roblin recorded it in their homemade studio. In addition to the signature synths, it features cello, drums and electric guitar, all performed by the duo. Most arresting are the sounds made when Shew dismantled his family grand piano following the housefire referenced on the album’s artwork and on closing track “Death of the Grand Piano 2017, Scissors on Wire.”

May 7, 2019 12:00 am Cameron House, Tuesday May 7