Bryce Clifford & Brother Superior give a new meaning to split personality with their latest single and video Tomorrow We Break Up With Ourselves — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The latest preview of the Hamilton roots-rocker’s upcoming album Rebounder, Tomorrow We Break Up With Ourselves was a reaction to writing one too many slow and introspective songs, Clifford admits. “You can only work on those downers for so long until you need to shake it off and play something irreverent and poppy. This one flips-the-script on the ‘hopeless romantic’ narrator and asks, ‘is it possible that you’re the problem?’ I’d held on to the song title for years. A friend came up with the saying one night at the Elephant Room, a jazz club in Austin. We’d been comparing and joking over some of our relationship woes and she said, ‘Tomorrow, Bryce, we break up with ourselves.’ I always laughed at how she added ‘tomorrow’, indicating there’s very little determination towards this effort of self-improvement …”
Set to a video features freshly digitized VHS clips of Clifford skateboarding with his brother and friends in the ’90s, Tomorrow We Break Up With Ourselves is the third advance single from Rebounder, a disc that ranks as their most musically ambitious and intensely personal recording yet. With elements of bluegrass, honky tonk, post-punk and old-school soul woven into their sound, the band’s third release puts a period on Clifford’s 10-year sojourn to Texas and back — complete with love lost and regained.
“The story behind this album is a difficult one to talk about,” Clifford laments. “Not because of the hard feelings behind the breakup, but for the regrettably trite scenario … I seethe at the idea of being lumped in with lame ‘singer/songwriter seclusion’ stories. In all seriousness, though, I hope it isn’t filed under ‘pain makes art,’ but something more like ‘art as survival.’ I was decimated by the betrayal of my girlfriend, and feeling as though the bottom had dropped out. I was also excited about giving myself the space to build a new collection of songs from scratch, so I packed up and drove north to Canada with no plan except to mine the circumstances for a collection of songs.”
Armed with experience, the 2,500-odd kilometre drive confirmed to Clifford two things: He had a record and he couldn’t let it get away. “I was afraid the adrenaline would wear off, so I worked on those songs nonstop for the first several weeks. Like a common cold, I knew I’d get better, so I had to chase the ideas while I was still on the bad side of symptoms. I set up recording gear in an unused RV my family had been storing on some empty farmland near London, Ont. It was cold and this was self-imposed isolation before that was a thing, pre-pandemic; I was completely surrounded by snow-covered cornfields, and I shut off all social media for months, but it was perfect for silence and experimentation.”