Toronto’s Lost & Profound has long leveraged the moodiness of the northern climes to influence their songwriting, and new album Goodbye Mine brings a return of their signature melancholy-infused pop rock.
Lead singer Lisa Boudreau and lyrist/guitarist/producer Terry Tompkins were never completely lost, but did take a break from making records together, experimenting separately in different music genres. It was when they decided to get a little wild again that they discovered a newfound depth of creativity. “Terry and I have been together for 30 years,” Lisa smiles. “A lot of the sadcore stuff we write gets pulled from reality!”. Her vocals reference Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, PJ Harvey and Beth Gibbons of Portishead in their dark and passionately detached singing.
Terry brings a love of psychedelic rock from his other band, The Now Feeling, inspired by shoegaze acts such as My Bloody Valentine and Tame Impala, while also paying homage to favorite albums from the ‘70s. “I went through a big ELO phase- though our title track ‘Goodbye Mine’ came out more Lennon-esque.” describes Terry, who cites Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Big Star, Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen and Fleetwood Mac amongst his influences from that decade. “We’re okay with being described as a ‘rock Carpenters’ – their best songs were all so melancholy, we love that.“ Goodbye Mine was produced specifically with the warm, sparse production of the ‘70s era in mind – making it an obvious for vinyl release, which is a first for Lost & Profound, after four previous albums.
The 10 songs on Goodbye Mine have a through line of loss. Terry reflects, “In our music, all the characters are lost… but there is something profound in looking at what’s happening to them.” He speaks of a Kerouac-approach in lyric writing, “blurting for pages and pages”, and also the uses the cut-up process popularized by Burroughs and Bowie, forming images as “weird words come together”.
The motif for track ‘Goodbye Mine’ came from reading about the devastation during the U.S. Civil War in Sherman’s March while spending time in Savannah. The emotional ‘Rover’ speaks of death in gentle terms through the feel of an old Scottish maritime ballad (“I barely got through the recording of this”, admits Lisa), and ‘Bad Sister’ comes from dark family secrets. The desolation of wintertime in neighboring Buffalo sets the stage in ‘Love’s Hard Landing’, and the anthemic -plus autobiographical- ‘Iodine’ builds with edgy slide guitar and gospel singers, sung by Lisa with “…vehemence and belief in my guts – this is going to be amazing live!”.
Terry pulled from rituals in his Catholic upbringing for eerieness in ‘Spectre’, and ‘Until It Broke’ was resurrected from Lost & Profound’s previous work, infusing a new, drug-laced atmosphere. Lisa interprets ‘Superhuman’ as a “…coming of age in life, getting to the light at the end of tunnel where you finally like and forgive yourself”. ‘Alcohol,’ according to the couple, is “…right out of true life: there were lost weekends- we were like F. Scott Fitzgerald & Zelda for a little while!”.
Despite the melancholia, Lost & Profound do celebrate love, and Terry makes his singing cameo on ‘Jewel’ with a sunshine pop sensibility, a rare happy song in their otherwise prolifically shadowy repertoire.
Terry and Lisa co-produced Goodbye Mine, working at the revered Revolution Recording studios in Toronto, with local A-list musicians, including guitarist Joao Carvalho (a long-time collaborator who also mastered the album, drummer John Obercian, multi-instrumentalist wizard Darrell O’Dea on keyboards, drums, guitar, bass and string arrangements, fiddle player Chris Bartos, bassist Greg Roberts, backing singers Renee Rowe and Kesha Wint, in addition to a string section. The album was engineered by Dean Nelson, known for his work with Beck, and Revolution Studio’s owner, Joe Dunphy. Acclaimed veteran engineer and longtime friend Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, Bob Marley, John Cale) mixed Goodbye Mine at Prairie Sun in California’s wine country with the help of Lisa and Terry’s son, audio engineer Jody Tompkins. The mixing and mastering were done to tape, specifically with the vinyl pressing in mind.
Lost and Profound’s origins are in the underground music scene in Calgary, where Terry and Lisa first collaborated as the Psychedelic Folk Virgins. They relocated to Toronto in 1985, independently releasing their tequila-fueled Lost & Profound premiere The Bottled Romance of Nowhere. Polygram Records discovered the band and released their major label debut Lost & Profound, resulting in Top 20 single “Brand New Set of Lies” and a JUNO Award Nomination. They had two subsequent releases, and then recorded as Red Suede Red for their 2002 album. Their tours included a music video shoot and Much Music special in Varanassi, India along the Ganges.
Lisa Boudreau and Terry Tompkin’s creative time apart kept them both immersed in music. Lisa is a sought-after session singer and voice-over artist; Terry is a successful composer for TV, radio and film. He is an Emmy Award winner for Best Original Children’s Song, and also writes music for Thomas The Tank Engine (which has millions of YouTube hits!). Terry heads Eggplant’s Film and Television division in Toronto as his day job, with highly varied production credits including Hollywood Death Trip (a 2013 E! Network show) and Comedy Channel series The Balloon Heads. He produced and directed acclaimed animated short ‘My Hometown’ with Oscar-nominated producer Jerry Levitan, based on prose written and narrated by Yoko Ono. Another collaboration involving Yoko was animated short ‘Tunafish Sandwich Pieces’, created by Terry and Levitan, based on her poem and narrated by Daniel Johnston. Terry is also producing a Nashville-based music-themed reality TV show for Mark Cuban’s network.
2015 shall have Terry and Lisa focusing on the reunion of Lost & Profound, with Goodbye Mine releasing in March. Travelers at heart, they can’t wait to tour, and are creating mesmerizing visuals for their concerts. “I think this record will be an amazing translation from album to stage,” says Lisa. Terry comments, “it’s an exciting time in music, and we must all be like troubadours more than ever, bringing our songs on the road.” Sure, Lost & Profound bring moody, Canadian melancholia, but their return is an absolute joy. Prepare for profundity.