Album of the Day: Bernice, “Puff”

Upon hearing “St. Lucia,” the first song on Bernice’s five-track EP Puff, you’ll find yourself in a deep, hypnotic groove. The feeling continues on the next track, “Don’t Wanna Be European,” sympathizing with lead vocalist Robin Dann as she debunks appropriation. But then the EP gets dark, and for those of us who’ve gone through some rough, depressive moments, it all hits close to home on the track “David.”

Here, Dunn muses: “Answering the phone / Closing the door / Everything feels awfully empty for David.” Hearing those words set to pausing tones brings a sense calm and hurt; the singer begs for someone, anyone, to “just give him something to believe in.” After so many listens, one doesn’t feel sad, but rather hopeful that someone close to David can help him find a way through the abyss.

Things turn around on the fast-moving “Talking About Her,” and mellow out on the final “Gemini.” Of all the songs, “David” feels most striking for its humanity, while “Talking About Her” and “St. Lucia” give a taste of what the band is best capable of—funk-driven instrumentals, dreamy falsettos, and catchy lyrics. The ups and downs that flow through each track give Puff an even pace, and, if this record indicates what’s coming next, Bernice will offer great pop, R&B, and electronic music for a long time. This is a captivating listen, a record that will put you at ease over and over again.

Erin Williams

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