LA songwriting duo Coach & Ref are back with a bright, bold new single, "iNFiNiTY."



Hearing pop songwriters make original music is a thrilling thing. Pop stars are well-known for picking the most talented, precocious songsmiths out there. There's a certain feeling of method acting going on when you hear the final result, though, like listening to a gifted vocalist on a talent show. Or a well-trained tenor singing musical theater. Yes, it's an impressive display of skill. It's not exactly authentic or believable, however. It's the difference between seeing someone at a coffee shop versus an opera. You don't assume someone singing songs from Les Miserables lived through the French revolution. Or the lead from Don Giovanni had been driven mad by his father's ghost.

When pop songwriters reveal their own work, you get the best of both worlds. You get the sturdy workmanship of top-shelf pop music mixed with some actual feeling, personality, and authenticity.

Such is the case with Coach & Ref.

Coach & Ref is the songwriting duo of Bleu and Ryan Perez-Daple. Bleu's written for a staggering array of glitterati, from Selena Gomez to Demi Lovato, to a number of We Are: The Guard favorites like Lola Blanc and Jesse Saint John. Ryan Perez-Daple has worked on over 300 albums as part of Universal Production Group. With so much time in the pop music trenches, while also living in Los Angeles, the spiritual center of pop culture, clearly Coach & Ref are going to have two fingers firmly planted on what makes pop music tick in 2020.

"iNFiNiTY" is a chance to hear those instincts on display, in all of their neon, fizzy-lifting glory. Musically, it bears some similarity with Pharrell Williams' "Happy." Unlike "Happy," however, "iNFiNiTY" isn't glaringly obnoxious, nor does it exist simply to sling a half-million DLs. It's got a similar plucky tunefulness, melodic and hooky as a tacklebox. It's got a similar throwback funkiness, like 1977 polished up like a disco ball. "iNFiNiTY" is smoother, more soulful, and more mellow around the edges. Pop music like "Happy" so often seems like it's shouting in your face, demanding your attention, removing any subtlety or any chance for the listener to make their own mind.

"iNFiNiTY" has the bright, bold optimism, sense of fun and play that you hope to find in pop music. It's got more of an underground sensibility, though. Music by and for music lovers, those who curate their playlists like religious libraries, who live and die by their favorite albums and artists.

We Are: The Guard count ourselves among these ranks. We're very serious about having fun, here at WA:TG. We're even more serious about good music. Which "iNFiNiTY" most assuredly is.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.