Dilettante is like no band you've seen before!
Dilettante — meaning "amateur of the arts" — is the semi-deadly-serious moniker of a quintet that reflects like a seasoned collective, only to laugh like absolute beginners.
Reborn from Toronto mainstay For Jane, Dilettante's "amateur" self-titled debut effort is a modulated cabaret that tests how wryly powerful pop can be. The groove-proof instruments are tracked from studios big and homespun, the double fantastic harmonies are sung from the hearth of a winter cabin, and the spacious synths close the decades and distance with a performance all the way from Japan. Bittersweet throwback bops create technicolour characters, shaking and glimmering like the last sequin clinging to an attic-bound jumpsuit; then, thumping ballads croon and cry like dancing slowly, alone in the spotlight with all of your closest friends.
Bandleaders Natalie Panacci and Julia Wittmann are kindred vocalists. Born just two days apart, their celestial connection lets them intertwine but never touch — two unmistakable voices that blend impossible shapes and colours, but never lose themselves in each other. This ferocious symmetry animates "Donna" as "one hard apple to core" and "Connie" wanting "a man on a leash," then serenades with every sweetheart address from "blue baby" to "baby, you're a monster."
Drummer Bradley Connor, bassist Zachary Stuckey, and keyboardist Candice Ng wheel a theatre of set pieces out to the dance floor. With the aid of producer Maks Milczarczyk and his trusty, half-broken Roland JUNO, the space becomes smokey dives, neon afterglow, Saturday Night Fever, and the back row at the cinema. Expect bongos, rolling low end, and show-thieving synth leads.
The album Dilettante released June 24th 2022, with singles "Bonnie", "Home", and "Donna" leading the way. Like the carnival barker at their sardonic circus marquee proudly proclaims: "Dilettante is like no band you've seen before!"
- Written by Derek Vanderwyk
TD Music Hall, Toronto