Vancouver’s Fine Mist is proof that making great music is not predicated on expensive recording equipment. Armed with a few synths, a microphone and a computer, the debut album from Megan McDonald and Jay Arner is simple, meaningful, well constructed and danceable. Don’t be fooled by the warm and fuzzy ‘80s synth-pop demeanour that is somewhat comparable to a sightly stripped down version of Goldfrapp, the song writing abilities of the duo are far superior with lyrics that are raw and personal, including the odd poignantly placed f-bomb.
Public Domain opens up with “Palm Trees,” a catchy and infectious tune that does not rely on a heavy chorus to initiate the toe-tapping tendencies of the album. Instead, the listener is introduced to the impressive range of McDonald’s smokey-sweet voice which can go from edgy to soft in seconds. “Because It’s The Ocean” gives one a sense of the lyrical depth as the song title is the answer to McDonald’s pleading chorus of “Why can’t we meet in the middle?” which is sung along side a funky retro bassline and other analogue smatterings. “Stop or Start” has the feel of a club anthem and a crowd raiser. Public Domain saves the best for last, though, as “Murder Murder” finishes with an array of live drums that provides the right departure from the synth drum tracks at just the right time. Fine Mist makes no contention about using a computer to do their recording, but the debut evokes major recording studio swagger with a local edge that is refreshing and accessible. The album is immediately satisfying and repetitively playable.