"Ladylike (Don't Hold Her Back)" - Cubs Refrain | Review

Toronto duo, Cubs Refrain, releases new empowerment anthem "Ladylike (Don't Hold Her Back)".

This duo makes a statement about what is means to be a "lady". They create a fun commentary as to the qualities of a woman and their abilities beyond the stereotypical and outdated expectations placed on women by society. The single is a quirky anthem for authenticity and breaking the mold. It’s a fun, empowering pop track about being your true self. It was also featured in the finale of Kim’s Convenience this past April.


The duo also brings a fun grungier edge to the traditional electro-pop sound - a synthpop as a dynamic rock subgenre. Band members Erin Roblin and Jordan Shew utilize analogue synthesizers and electronic music production techniques to create their signature “wall of synths” sound.


Toronto electronic duo, Cubs Refrain, is reimagining synthpop as a dynamic rock subgenre, combining retro synth tones with driving rhythms and harmoniously edgy indie-rock vocals. Influenced by groups like CHVRCHES, Metric, and Muse, band members Erin Roblin and Jordan Shew utilize analogue synthesizers and electronic music production techniques to create their signature “wall of synths” sound.

Cubs Refrain’s debut concept album, “Tell Me You Love Me” (2018), was praised as “indie-pop perfection” (Live In Limbo) and “a rapturous work of vivid passion, heartfelt intensity and vehement romanticism“ (Turn Up The Volume). With their latest recording, the duo is straying from the themes of romantic desire and despair, focusing instead on mental health and introspection.


The duo’s upcoming single, “Never Enough”, releases July 24, 2020. Jordan’s exasperated, gritty vocals punch through their towering wall of sound - a jarring departure from his smooth, Muse-like vocals that ease the tension felt throughout the track. The song’s production mirrors the juxtaposed message of putting up a confident front while living in uncertainty; the uplifting groove working in contrast to the lyrical themes of anxiety and isolation.


Jordan mixes and produces all of the band’s material in his home studio where they do most of their recording. In addition to the breadth of synth sounds, many of their tracks also feature electric guitar, cello, and any inanimate object Jordan can get a noise out of.

Over the past two years, Cubs Refrain has brought their elaborate synth production to life, performing at Riverfest Elora, Canadian Music Week, Indie Week and independent shows across Southern Ontario. Dedicated to carving out their own aesthetic, Cubs Refrain is creating richly layered arrangements that build with their contrasting voices to embody a new genre of synth-rock for youthful boldness.


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