Toronto post-everything collective Respire has been a pioneering force in the Canadian underground scene for ten years, building a cult-like following over three critically acclaimed LPs and four international tours. Drawing inspiration from the expansive soundscapes and egalitarian songwriting of iconic Canadian bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene, Respire pushes the boundaries of heavy music, intertwining intricate, uplifting orchestral arrangements with the intensity and urgency of emotional hardcore and the desperation of black metal. The seven-member collective’s DIY ethos has remained unshakable, the fruits of their dedication to self-reliance, creative autonomy, and community-building ever present in the Toronto musical landscape through New Friends Fest and its parent collective, New Friends DIY, co-founded and co-organized by two of its members.

Respire’s latest offering, Hiraeth, is a testament to the collective’s ambition, genre-defying style, and maximalist approach. Despite the newfound distance between members in Toronto and Austin, TX, Hiraeth was meticulously crafted over four years through a continuous exchange of demos and sheet music, culminating in a transformative farmhouse writing retreat. The band spent six months producing the album, with the invaluable contributions of recording engineer Sean Pearson and mixing and mastering engineer Jack Shirley, and numerous collaborators.

Following the storming intensity of 2020’s Black Line, Hiraeth finds Respire returning to a more introspective and melancholic sound, punctured by triumphant and anthemic moments. The album serves as a tribute to those who have uprooted their lives and their families in search of hope and a better future. It also serves as a cautionary tale to those who remain complacent, falsely secure in the privileges of their illusory societal positions. Hiraeth is a manifesto of the immigrant experience; a call for all of us to embrace our shared humanity, awaken to the fragility of our existence, and confront the crises we face collectively before it’s too late.


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