Vancouver’s self-described “genre-blending make-out music-making trio” I M U R recently released music videos for singles “Case of You” and “Sad Girls Club” that resemble Larry Clark and Harmony Korine’s highly stylized explorations of teenage wildlife. So, it’s not surprising that during a recent chat producer/multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher tells me, “With this album, ‘Shitty is Pretty’ is the mentality we took toward it… We’re all big fans of visual art… We’re always scouring IG and we always try to be curating the content we consume.” Singer/songwriter Jenny Lea adds, “The biggest inspiration behind the band’s visuals is the mood; that’s where we get the color palette and the fashion.”
The mood of I M U R’s latest sounds (which come from their forthcoming third LP, My Molecules, which drops June 25) could be described as “sleazy sweet.” While there’s a certain existential griminess to the club-ready eroticism of their brand of electro-R&B, their sentimentality certainly leans heavily toward the sincere. “Case of You” is a love letter of sorts to the bliss you feel upon first falling in love (inspired by Joni Mitchell, no less), “Sad Girls Club” is about whimsically wallowing in self-doubt, and the album’s latest single, “Birdseye,” was inspired by a near-death experience that Jenny had that led her to consider the mark she’s making on this world.
“With this record it feels like all of our other records were demos [laughs]. We have a new team and we really doubled-down on our workflow,” says Amine, who goes on to explain that the three of them are responsible for every single aspect of the music, which they record in a studio built by producer/guitarist Mikey J Blige. And when I inquire as to what they were listening to when working on My Molecules, Amine tells me, “I was diving deeper into contemporary hip-hop,” while Jenny says, “A lot of Banks and Coltrane,” before adding: “For me, message-wise and lyrically, I pull a lot from the early ‘90s, like Salt N’ Pepa. That was my first time hearing women talking about sexuality and owning it themselves.” However, they do admit to having a few surprising influences. “Before we met, we all gravitated toward emo,” says Amine, and they also go on to mention Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, and Radiohead as artists they’re big fans of.
Although not quite yet a household name, I M U R have been making music since 2015 and have played a number of major gigs, including Shambhala, Bass Coast, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Winnipeg Jazz Fest. When I ask the band about some of their highlights so far, they tell me that touring India while playing two festivals out there and appearing on the mainstage at Bumbershoot are right up there. Additionally, I M U R have already had their music on a number of “bingeworthy” shows, including Wynonna Earp, Good Trouble, Snowpiercer, Pretty Little Things, Wu Assassins, and Workin’ Moms. When I ask if there’s anywhere they dream of their music winding up, they emphatically respond, “Euphoria!” “We all love that show,” Jenny says, laughing. However, Mikey tells me that he had something very specific in mind when working on the title track of the new album: “The intro track, the title track, kind of had an inspo from the Imogen Heap song, ‘Hide and Seek,’ which airs in a famous episode of The O.C. in this like epic finale, so I kind of envision it being in something like that.” “Yeah, we wanna see a main character die to that,” adds Amine, laughing.