Inside Vox Rea’s smart pop philosophy

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      Vox Rea: six letters and three vowels. The name is short, but within it there’s a whole world of thought.

      “‘Vox Rea’ has no ties, no actual meaning,” says Kate Kurdyak, one half of the pop duo, over a Zoom call from an artist residency in Banff. “We wanted something that had no preconceptions. It’s ambiguous. We wanted it to be something that could be discovered, and analyzed—mysterious, and not something where it was trying to tell people exactly what it was, because we feel like art is better like that.” Very Barthesian.

      Vox Rea dropped its self-titled album in 2022. It was a second run at a first record, steeped in synths and reverberating with existential dread, introducing the band as noir pop philosophers pondering the big questions that keep you up at night.

      “I simultaneously believe that things happen as they’re meant to be,” Kate reflects, “and I also believe that every choice you make is extremely important and you’re the determiner of your own destiny.”

      Take “Indigo”, the opening track off Vox Rea. “I wanna be free from this, or do I?” ponder the lyrics, over a sparse piano backing that adds moody layers as the song unfurls. That uncertainty keeps cropping up. Singles “Dose Me Up” and “Damn (Unstuck)” sound, respectively, like a Florence and the Machine deep cut desperate to identify “what’s the right to wrong?” and a meditative ballad on intergenerational trauma. “Family genes like chains around me/Hope it’s not too late to break free,” intone the Kurdyaks. Not exactly breezy beach bops.

      “It’s very much introspective: sit down in silence, listen,” Kate says. (“Maybe even lie down in the dark,” Lauren interjects.) “Which is super fun, and we’ve done shows like this,” Kate continues, “but we did find we were like, ‘It would be really fun to have some songs that are high energy.’”

      There are sprinkles of that in “Reset”, which leans into ’60s-style “sha-la-la”s and warm summer imagery. The band’s latest single, non-album release “Julia”, takes it even further: it’s less noir and more pop, with chunky bass, a flirty guitar twang, and soaring harmonies.

      While the official announcement is still in the works and the title is still under wraps, Vox Rea confirms there’s a new album slated to drop this year. The pair headed to home turf on Vancouver Island (where their parents live) to lay it down in December.

      At the band’s upcoming Vancouver show, Vox Rea is set to be joined by two fellow sibling acts: twin rockers Fionn, and recent collaborators the Bankes Brothers. When asked what makes blood relatives such ideal artistic co-creators, the sisters are quick to answer: vulnerability.

      “There’s no room for egos, because the second one of us starts acting like a dick, the other one will shut you down immediately,” Kate says, laughing. “You’re not allowed to bullshit your sister!”

      Vox Rea plays Fortune Sound Club on February 3, with support from the Bankes Brothers and Fionn.