The Canadian indie rock band’s fourth studio album is their first to feature Marta Cikojevic on keys after she joined the band in 2017. She joins guitarist/songwriter David Carriere, drummer Riley Fleck and the mesmerising Jane Penny on vocals. I Feel Alive is catchy indie rock with a lot to say.
The album puts relationships, both old and new, at the forefront. Penny sings about the joy in seeing a new relationship blossom as well as the pain in leaving an old one in the past. Her vocals offer a frankly moving amount of self-reflection, but more importantly, they are beautifully interwoven with soothing and captivating soft rock.
Throughout the album TOPS’ ‘80s inspired synth-pop makes for incredibly danceable and shareable tunes. Whether you feel like chilling on your couch or dancing in the kitchen during these times of isolation, I Feel Alive has tracks for you. The catchy nature of the album encourages foot tapping and is sure to get more than a few people on their feet.
Just like relationships however, the album isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The slower tracks that embrace the negative aspects of love really tug at the heart. It is when the rhythm is slowed down that Penny’s vocals take centre stage and showcase her emotive range. The pacing makes sure the mood is never brought down too much. After the wonderfully sad Take Down the band bring everything back up again with Drowning in Paradise for example.
I Feel Alive is a joy to listen to – genuinely catchy indie rock that is surprisingly moving. Now more than ever we’re in need of mood lifting music and this album should definitely be added to playlists. Jane Penny offers a stand-out performance here but all members of TOPS have created something to be proud of.