TOPS, Echo of Dawn / Seven Minutes.

Canadian quartet TOPS have, over the course of most of this particular decade, established themselves as exemplary proponents of an evocative ’80s synth-pop. And Seven Minutes – the B-side to their recent 2-track release; a first since Sugar at the Gate, 2017 – perpetuates such an impression, caught as it is somewhere between the otherwise incongruous Sade and Prefab Sprout.

It’s Echo of Dawn, however, which is of considerably more allure. Atop David Carriere’s very carefully picked guitar line – equal parts James Taylor and Robert Young, there or thereabouts – Jane Penny repeatedly, rhetorically questions: “When you gonna put me down again?” And, while lacking in their customarily merry atmosphere, this stark balladry is decidedly worthy of high praise, indeed.

Echo of Dawn / Seven Minutes is available now via Musique TOPS.