Portland's Lovers break internal boundaries to offer up raw, intimate electro-pop

Lovers with Aquahead and Lights Over Chicago
9 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory
8911 N. Western

Being in a band is life-changing. There's a new set of people to be accountable to; songwriting, promoting and touring to be done. Even if the differences aren't all that great, it does alter life's normal routine.

For the women of Lovers, an electro-pop trio out of Portland, Ore., it's been a much bigger change than that.

"There's a depth to the success we are having," said Carolyn Berk, lead singer and lyricist. "It feels very spiritual, an experience of faith, and we are entrusting each other's intuition. We are trying to go strongly and very thoughtfully in all directions, and that has changed me and the way I perceive my relationship I have with the world."

"I feel like this band has gotten rid of my back problems," synth player Kerby Ferris said, laughing.

Berk, Ferris and drummer Emily Kingan kept bumping into each other through odd instances of fate in the early 2000s. Berk was an established songwriter; Kingan drummed for feminist hardcore act The Haggard; and Ferris worked as a roadie when Berk and Kingan toured together in 2002.

A few years later, Kingan arranged for the three to meet up, and they instantly knew that they had not only found their new bandmates, but sisters.

"The way we've grown together ... I think it's very empowering and freeing," Kingan said. "We have helped each other get over some of our self-imposed obstacles. ... That is just the beauty of ardent female friendship."

The trio treads an intimate, tender style, utilizing Ferris' experience with electronic music to craft a raw, feminine soundscape not unlike a more emotionally complex Tegan and Sara.

"We have constant access to our strongest support companions," Kingan said. "Everything that we are doing is equally informed by the influences, encouragement and feedback of the other two members of the band."

The support was so comforting and helpful to the group that the women decided to move in together, which has brought a whole new dynamic to Lovers' music.

"There's a lack of pretension in our music that reflects the way it feels, in the way you relate to someone after you have to discuss who is going to have to clean up the bathroom," Ferris said with a laugh. "The social boundaries you feel with even your closest friends are erased when you live together, and I feel like I can hear that in the songs."

It's been smooth sailing for Lovers since they came together in 2005, and the trio released its newest album, "Dark Light," earlier this month. Tours have been successful, the band is beloved around its hometown, and the women are on a path with which they couldn't be more satisfied.

"With this environment we've co-created, and the success we are experiencing now," Ferris said. "It's been this incredibly positive, almost spiritual lesson in how attending to your energetic relationship with what you are doing and putting in the hard work makes success almost more successful.""Joshua Boydston

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