Companion, a new project from Pepi Ginsberg (Red, East Is East), is defined by lush vocal arrangements and strong rhythmic hooks. A clear departure from Ginsberg's earlier work, Companion delivers artful pop with a twist.
The process of developing this new sound began around Ginsberg's thorough home recordings of her songs, along with vocal harmonies she created with bandmates Anna Thorngate and Amy Carriganboth of whom she enlisted from the ranks of the Brooklyn Ladies Choir, an all-women singing group she'd formed in the winter of 2010. To flesh out these vocal-centric versions of the songs, she picked up her own guitar and turned to her longtime bass player, Tim Lappin, plus new guitarist Kirk Schoenherr and drummer Justin Veloso. In the studio, the band started to create a sound that incorporated elements both organic and electronic, often incorporating Ginsberg's homemade beats: "I needed to learn how to write harder parts on my guitar and sing more challenging melodies, and I was listening to a lot of HOT 97," she says. "I wanted to build beats and have electronic aspects to the music, so I had to figure out how to write them, and blend those ideas with the organic nature of the songs."
The production on the band's eponymous debut is big and airy. With help from people like Jake Aron (Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Jamie Lidell) and Nathan Sabatino (Dr. Dog), the album is powerful, rich and compelling. It marks an auspicious and mature beginning for a young band.