A one-time member of Cirque de Soleil and a classically trained trombonist don’t seem the most likely candidates to spearhead Canada’s alt-R&B scene, but as the curiously named Milk & Bone, Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne are doing just that.
The Montreal-based duo first met as music program students at the Cegep de Saint-Laurent in their teens, where they both honed their skills as multi-instrumentalists. After graduating, they went onto join the backing bands of various local artists, including Alex Nevsky, Jason Bajada and David Giguere.
But it was when Misteur Valaire invited the pair to step up as lead vocalists on the album, Bellevue, that Milk & Bone formed. Since then, 22-year-old Poliquin and 24-year-old Lafond-Beaulne have been hyped up by Vice, The Guardian and Pitchfork,performed at SXSW and David Lynch’s pop-up nightclub Silencio, and signed to indie label Honeymoon.
Seeing how they’ve cited the likes of Blood Orange, Solange and James Blake as their main inspirations, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that their sound largely follows a similarly lush, atmospheric and sparse synth-R&B direction. But alongside the likes of Soundcloud hit “Pressure,” infidelity tale “New York” and the bittersweet electro ballad “Watch,” their recently-released debut E.P. Little Mourning also shows they have the potential to carve their own path.
“Easy To Read” is a convincing foray into folktronica which allows Lafond-Beaulne to showcase her talents on the ukulele. “X” is a fragile grand piano-led torch song which proves the pair aren’t always the ice-cold maidens their minimalist black-and-white image would suggest, while featuring a guest appearance from Canadian rapper Terrell Morris, “Tomodachi” is a glorious ode to friendship whose chamber pop production bears the hallmarks of their studious past.
Following recent well-received sets at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival and Osheaga, Milk & Bone now appear poised to become one of this year’s classiest breakthrough acts.