Toronto-Based Original Pairs Capture an Ache for Lost Love on “Concord Avenue” from New Album ‘Long Play’

There’s something ‘bygone era’ about Toronto-based Original Pairs’ new single “Concord Avenue” – not just in its yearning for a better recent past, but in its sound. The song combines a ’50s Elvis croon with a mid-’60s rose-sunglasses filter to create a haunting and infectious power-pop ode to an apartment surrounded by intrigue.

Wandering the city at night, the narrator of “Concord Avenue” is plagued by the ghosts of a past romance. He recalls the warm, inviting beacon of a kitchen light, the ex-boyfriend who took his place, and the drunken writer who witnessed it all from the neighboring porch.

There’s a Byrds-era Los Angeles vibe to it all, aided by 12-string guitars, a bubbling bass line, and orchestral drum fills that put you right into the middle of this strange, riveting, grainy-photograph romance. Producer John Dinsmore offered up a 1964 Rickenbacker 12-string that the band used to create heavy emotion and a nostalgic atmosphere.

The song was inspired by an actual apartment on Concord Avenue in Toronto where Original Pairs’ founders Lisa Logan and Andrew Frontini first shared a secret and forbidden romance. The details of said romance may or may not actually reflect the events in the song, but that’s beside the point. The song steeps itself in the reverie of lost love, a melancholy almost anyone can relate to.

Number 107
Was where you lived back then
I used to see you tripping ‘round the town
After you moved in with him
Later, when it all fell through
You got a flat just up the street …

The video for the single, created by artists Jubal and Nathan Brown, collages live performance, grainy 16mm film footage that returns to the scene of the crime, and atmospheric found footage to create a suitable dreamscape for Concord Avenue’s nocturnal perambulations. Torontonians will recognize many West End landmarks, including The Royal Theatre, Café Diplomatico, and, of course, Concord Avenue.

The nucleus of Original Pairs is the longstanding romance between founding members guitarist Andrew Frontini and drummer Lisa Logan. The duo shared a love of rock ‘n’ roll and, particularly, a love of the Toronto indie scene, which they eventually channeled into their own music project.

After gigging for a year as a piano-and-drums duo, the group evolved into a trio (with a revolving cast of bass players) before expanding and solidifying into today’s classic four-piece combo. Let’s face it, playing in a band with a couple can really suck but ,thankfully, the chemistry of the current lineup is uniquely resilient. Bassist Lynda Kraar is an old family friend on the Logan side, and classically trained keyboardist Jon Loewen is Andrew’s partner by day in an architecture firm. The band can’t break up, so they’ve been able to mine a deep rock’n’roll groove.

Their new album Long Play (nicknamed OPLP by the band) reflects Andrew’s experiences growing up in the burgeoning Kingston rock scene of the early eighties, a time when ’60s rock and rockabilly influences were reviving, and punk was morphing into New Wave and post punk. OPLP was recorded live off the floor at Lincoln County Social Club in a period of four days, capturing the band’s onstage energy and the spirit of rock’s greatest years: 1965 and 1980.

Thematically, the album captures a couple’s life together from their earliest encounters in a West End apartment on “Concord Avenue,” to the inevitable bumps in the road on “Love Collision,” to the dreaded prospect of lovers growing old together in “Not Grow Old,” the album’s first single.