Although the band name Men I Trust seems quite fitting for the Montreal trio, singer and guitarist Emmanuelle Proulx denies it has anything to do with her being the feminine Debbie Harry-like frontwoman for a group of dudes.
"It really has nothing to do with me or my trust in men," she tells New Times. "I actually remember hearing the name before joining and thinking it was a really good name. I think that's the first thing I told them."
And yet mutual trust must have played a big part in the band's decision to bring Proulx into the fold and her accepting the invitation.
Founded by multi-instrumentalist producers Dragos Chiriac and Jessy Caron at the Université Laval, Men I Trust began as a revolving door for up-and-coming singers on the Québécois indie-pop scene. One of them was Proulx, who contributed dreamy guest vocals on two tracks for the band's 2015 breakout album, Headroom.
"Dragos had heard a video of me singing around a campfire with friends," she says. "We tried a few things together, and, well, I never left."
By becoming the band's full-time chanteuse, Proulx undoubtedly elevated its live proposition to new heights through her captivating, sultry voice and charismatic stage presence. Miami got to experience the singer's magnetism first-hand in the summer of 2019 when Proulx and company delivered an intimate and rousing live performance at Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Of course, within mere months of their memorable Miami debut concert, Men I Trust would be relegated to the cold waiting room of career uncertainty along with every other working band in the world. When the global lockdown began, nobody knew if live music would ever be a thing again.
But while many indie artists tragically fell to the wayside, Men I Trust managed to make lemonade. Hunkered down in their bedroom studios, Proulx, Chiriac, and Caron collaborated remotely to produce their latest album, an atmospheric collection of 13 lo-fi, downtempo tracks aptly titled Untourable Album, and a stylistic departure to be sure.
"During the pandemic, everything felt so slow and blurry," says Proulx, more or less describing the album's sonic aesthetic as well. Paradoxically, considering they could not meet in person, the three bandmates found this to be an inordinately creative and productive time.
"We were all bound at home in the countryside and had a safe space to create," she explains. "The limitations were nonexistent for us during this period, and we are happy we could take advantage of that. We had good internet and a huge shared cloud folder, so we could efficiently work together remotely."
"The genesis of the album is really influenced by this weird period, a kind of twilight zone," she adds. "It was a fertile two years of experimenting with sounds, digging through memories, and taking it slow."
Men I Trust would eventually take Untourable Album on the road in 2021, as soon as pandemic restrictions began to be lifted. But despite its better attributes, the album is probably bound to remain a tangential pandemic-era artifact in the greater scheme of the band's discography, less quintessential than the more groovy, crowd-pleasing dream pop on previous albums.
Far more exciting is the promise of a return to form in 2023, as the band begins to break out never-before-heard material from a new studio album in the works. "We are super thrilled to embark on a new album journey together right after our big U.S. tour this fall," Proulx discloses. "We have really good songs on the way."
Of course, South Floridian fans don't have to wait that long. Men I Trust heads to Revolution Live on June 14. "Florida's crowds are so energetic and nice to us," says Proulx. "It was really important for us to make a little tour just for Florida and come to Fort Lauderdale."
"You will probably hear very new songs in the set," she teases.
Men I Trust. With Triathalon. 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; jointherevolution.net. Tickets cost $29 to $35 via ticketmaster.com.