By Rosa Gulliver of TINYGMUSIC | 24th May 2023
Bar Pandora is the stage name of UK alt-pop artist Charlie Tophill. The project was named after a literary cafe in La Latina, Madrid, where in 2017 Tophill used to hang out with her friends talking literature, life, and feminism over red wine and fizzy sweets. Retrospectively inspired by the empowerment these friendships engendered, she created Bar Pandora in 2021 as a musical project seeking to redress the balance of a life shadowed by self-imposed limitation and baseless inhibition.
Bar Pandora’s melodious alt-pop is playfully sewn together from the offcuts of personal experience. Field recordings, journal entries, and improvised fragments bop bewitchingly along to a rich undercurrent of harmonic synths, guitars, and dynamic beats.
Her eponymous debut EP, released in 2022, was the result of an experimental collaboration with jungle producer Simply Dread and earned Bar Pandora early support and radio play from BBC Radio 6’s Amy Lamé and Tom Robinson as well as praise from The Times newspaper and many more.
Tophill has continued to work with Simply Dread for her upcoming single, ‘Ultramess’, a “collaboration of artistic differences” resulting in shimmery electro-pop which ripples with restless energy. ‘Ultramess’ is an alluring snapshot of a cynical romance. “It’s not quite a love song,” Tophill says. “It’s more an ode to the wilful ignorance that leads us to love, and the chaos that follows.”
Tophill’s writing is candid, confessional, and refreshingly light, and there’s a mischievous streak that peppers her songs and tempers her occasional intensity. “I’m processing a lot of past mistakes through my music,” she says. “While anticipating future fuck ups which I’m sure will be just as fun to make.”
“Cathartic alt-pop that manages to be simultaneously off-kilter and melodious” The Times
“Featuring dynamic beats and rich undercurrents, it’s a bold statement that sees Bar Pandora ready to confess on her forthcoming EP.” LOCK Magazine