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Today, Bar Pandora, the alt-pop project of Coventry based artist Charlie Tophill, has shared their debut single ‘Dear Man’. The project owes its name to a literary cafe in La Latina, Madrid, where in 2017 she used to hang out with her friends talking literature, life and feminism over red wine and fizzy sweets. Retrospectively inspired by the empowerment these friendships engendered, Tophill created Bar Pandora in 2021 as a musical project seeking to redress the balance of a life shadowed by self-imposed limitation and baseless inhibition.
Drawn to the idea of collaborating with a producer who works outside of the musical world she usually inhabits, Tophill, who has previously released music under her own name, began working on her debut EP with jungle producer SimplyDread. The result is deliciously off-kilter yet melodious alt-pop, playfully sewn together from the offcuts of personal experience; field recordings, journal entries and improvised fragments which bop along to a rich undercurrent of harmonic synths, guitars and dynamic beats.
New single, ‘Dear Man’ stemmed from the first file that SimplyDread shared with Tophill. “It was about 20 seconds of riff and drums going round and I just loved the feel of it,” she explains. “I listened to it on a loop for a while until my head was full of it, then I started recording an improvised melody over the top, which ended up being the one that stuck”. The challenge of working outside of her comfort zone became an intoxicating experience for the songwriter. “I got so obsessed with it. At one point I got up at 2 AM and spent hours splicing up a baseline that Dave (SimplyDread) had sent me and putting it back together to make something completely different. That’s the baseline we used in the end, my insomnia induced bass-collage.”
The songs that make up Bar Pandora’s debut EP are penned with mischievous frankness, delivering confessional composites of personal histories, inner monologues and self-building proclamations which are simultaneously singular and familiar. "My lyrics are made up of my inner voices,” explains Tophill. “The one that tells my story, the one that tells me what I want to do, the one that tells me I can’t do it, and the one that tells me that last voice was full of shit.”
The lyrics to new single ‘Dear Man’ were taken from an old journal she had written whilst living in Madrid. “Every line is a little snapshot into a very specific moment of my life and has a lot of meaning and emotion attached to it. The song is about consciously trying to come to terms with your own fuck ups, figure yourself out a bit and fix what’s broken,” she says.
‘Dear Man’ is available to stream and download now and new music is on the horizon. Stay tuned.