I love folk and I love synthpop, but I haven’t known I could love them together in the same room and breathing the same air. Folk and electropop lovers will be refreshed by Test Card Girl‘s newest offering The Beyond. The soundscape is a fascinating and tantalizing blend of traditional folk elements (acoustic guitar, piano, earthy vocal work) immersed and swimming in retro synthesizers and pulsating bass beats. It’s both fresh and refreshing in its creative blending and bending of sounds.
The song is a scene from a moving train window. Beautifully and cleverly expressed in the steady pace of bass pulses and soft percussion like the tracks under the wheels of a train, the lyrics invoke images of hills, mountains, windows; green and growing things. The musician behind Test Card Girl, singer/songwriter Catherine Burgis is the gentle, soothing voice of reflection from the window.
If I could only see
Over the next hill
Under the bridge
to The Beyond
It’s a moment of transition between past and future, where reflection, regret, and hope intertwine. Just when we’re settling into a not entirely unusual soft, folky, subdued reflection, there comes a gentle yet vibrant eruption into Burgis’ lushly layered vocal harmonies, energetic piano melodies, and the unexpected flavors of retro synthesizers. It’s the sound of optimism, anticipation, and maybe even courage. I could stay on this train for a long time.
Catherine Burgis‘ development as a musician is in it itself an interesting journey. Restless in an administrative career, in 2019 at the age of 35, she began writing songs and, subsequently, touring. The Beyond is her third single from her debut album, which was funded by England’s Arts Council. Test Card Girl has been featured in Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6Music Ones To Watch 2021 list.