With some bands, you know exactly what to expect every time you slide on the headphones. Maybe it’s three power chords driven by pure adrenaline, or pulsing ‘80s-inspired synth pop with hooks for days…
But then there are bands like Jane’s Party – bands that combine colours and textures from various styles into a constantly-evolving sonic tapestry; that can shift shapes from song to song and album to album while staying consistently good, consistently compelling, and consistently true to themselves.
For Jane’s Party – Jeff Giles (keys/guitar/vocals), Tom Ionescu (guitar/vocals), Devon Richardson (bass/vocals), and Zach Sutton (drums) – that’s largely a product of a hard-earned and enviable musical synergy. The talented Toronto-based foursome united amidst their university years in 2006, initially playing one-of-a-kind covers to packed clubs throughout the city before collaborating on some output of their own.
“I think it was a common love of original music and an open-mindedness to try out anything that felt right that brought us together, and we really had no set agenda,” begins Richardson. “But once we started writing and then sharing songs, we realized this meant a lot to us – and other people were getting into it, too.”
Their 2009 debut, The Garage Sessions, introduced Jane’s Party’s hook-heavy brand of organic indie rock and earned its share of attention and acclaim in the talent-rich Toronto music scene. In the decade-plus since, they’ve honed the core of that sound – the simple-but-substantial melodies, rich, multi-part harmonies, and keen sense of dynamics – through a series of constantly-evolving albums, EPs, and singles.
“It’s been a really gradual process over the years, finding and establishing our sound and then figuring out where we can branch off to explore new things,” Ionescu puts in. “The more we try, the more we learn, so that constant evolution comes very naturally.”
2013’s Hot Noise, for example, built on The Garage Sessions’ acoustic aesthetic with more electricity and eclecticism, whereas 2016’s Tunnel Visions pushed further into electro-pop territory with vibe-heavy textures that could tempt anyone onto a dancefloor.
Their most recent LP, 2019’s Casual Island, is a masterclass in slick, polished pop rock that never loses its soul. It’s also their most collaborative effort to date, with members of Badbadnotgood, Fast Romantics, and turntablist Skratch Bastid lending their talents.
“Making music with other people is really fun when you open yourself up and allow it to be,” says Richardson, “and at this point, we’re pretty much open to anything and welcome ideas from everywhere.” That’s the ethos that brought them together in the first place, and is the same one guiding them into their next project.
Jane’s Party is currently at work with Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien of fellow Toronto rock outfit Zeus on their next EP, foiling the pop-heavy production of its predecessor with a raw, “back-to-the-garage” approach that captures the essence of their notoriously tight tour-de-force of a live show.
Their onstage prowess has earned them tour slots alongside Tom Odell, Arkells, Lord Huron, Blue Rodeo, and Lights, to name a few, and will soon find them pushing further into the U.S. and Europe on their already-impressive trajectory.
Through it all, they’ve engaged their fans and earned new ones thanks to a quirky creative flare manifested in unique covers (both live and on their busy YouTube channel), clever video concepts, and of course, great music – always ambitious, always evolving, and yet always Jane’s Party.
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