‘Cordon Sanitaire’ is Former Lives’ vibrant, new wave tribute to anxious outsiders

‘Cordon Sanitaire’ is the new single from Portland’s Former Lives (aka Sean Joseph Klassen), the self-taught producer who is applying his last few years of diligent learning and practice to his current song-a-month project. We’ve picked up this track in particular down to its starry-eyed optimism, which immediately greets the listeners ears in that vibrant thirty second introduction. There’s an undeniable new wave influence, as you’ll note in the pop-orientated synth melody, lofi guitars and punchy 80s-esque drums.

With all of this taken into consideration, it’s interesting to acknowledge that these songs are designed to portray Former Lives‘ experience since suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2016. By his own admission, his life was thrown into turmoil, and you can hear that uncertainty and anxiety ring true in the vulnerable lyrics. Sung by guest vocalist Madison Savary, she begins with the searching line “I don’t know why I’ve always been this way”. Over an initially placid indie-pop backdrop, suddenly, the tempo changes and we’re launched into a movie-ready, slacker kids anthem in which you can celebrate in those failures… or at least distract yourself from society’s pressures for a little while. As it turns out, ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ is the tambourine-shaking, kick drum smacking, bass slapping soundtrack for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

As a final few words, we’ll leave you with these wise ones from Klassen himself:

“You can feel a deep anxiety about the world seeping into every genre of music right now. It can stem from something as small as leaving the house. Or as big as pondering the over-the-top inequalities of capitalism. It’s all driving us further apart. Making us afraid. Cordon Sanitaire wrestles with the desire for isolation because of all this fear and anxiety but in an upbeat, nostalgic way that leaves us singing along, finding acceptance with that despair, and wishing we could just dance the stress away. Together.”

This song-a-month release schedule will culminate in a five-track vinyl record, titled Ceremony of Leaving, out on May 17th, It’s already up for pre-order over on Bandcamp.

Naturally, we’ve added ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ to our Outsiders Club playlist.

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