TORONTO - March 26 2021 - Today's music video release of "Periscope" from Toronto-based singer-songwriter Tristan Armstrong has hope for the end of isolation.
A song well-suited for these times, the new release "Periscope" from Toronto-based singer-songwriter Tristan Armstrong begins as an enticing escape from the doldrums of stay-at-home life, immediately transporting the listener seaside with its bobbing opening riff. But this isn't your average pleasure cruise. Inspired by the isolation of life on a submarine, Armstrong's lyrics and longing tone are cathartic, capturing the feelings of loneliness and resignation when there is nothing else to do but stay inside and wait for the tide to turn. Complementing the cinematic nature of the song, the Periscope video is a mix of present day and the Before Times, effectively using archival submarine footage to juxtapose the cramped quarters of life below deck with soaring shots of the wide Arctic expanse.
While prior releases from Armstrong have leaned towards roots and Americana sounds with bands The Actual Goners and Stars Algonquin, “Periscope”, his first major solo release, sees Armstrong making a distinct stylistic change. Here, the arrangement is stripped bare of rhythm section instruments in favor of a fully orchestral accompaniment. Vocals and guitar are augmented by the cello and upright bass playing of Charles James (who composed the string arrangement), violin of Hugh Marsh and percussion work from Trevor Falls. Reflecting adaptation to the current state of the world, the work was tracked this past winter in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with all of the parts recorded separately in isolation by the musicians involved.
Closing out the track, a swell of strings and a voice in the distance seem to promise rescue from the cold solitude. You might be hard-pressed to find a reason to believe in times like these. But as Armstrong shows us, one day we will break through our barriers and greet each other once more.