Tuesday, 15 March 2016

EP: Pine the Pilcrow - Pine the Pilcrow

EP Pine the Pilcrow Pine the Pilcrow

Pine the Pilcrow - Part Of You Died

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: Formed less than 12 months ago, Dublin based trio Pine the Pilcrow have spent the last year building their reputation within the Dublin scene, with their particular brand of storm drenched, widescreen aching ballads, racking up performances from Hard Working Class Heroes to supporting Inni-K.  On the cusp of embarking on a nationwide tour, they’ve released this self-titled four-track EP as a taste of things to come.

There’s a grand sense of danger in the tightrope act performed by Pine the Pilcrow - operating, (for the most part), as a Piano/Cello/Violin trio centred around an entangled harmonising set of guy/girl vocals: there’s very little space for any flaw to hide, and this proves to be the greatest strength of four track opening salvo.  With the exception of rousing final track ‘Where You Are,’ the band mine ample atmospheric and melodic gold from their simple setup, building from moody piano, to string and harmony laden crescendos.  While the slow burn structures on display aren’t attempting to reinvent the wheel, they prove to be the perfect vehicle for this collection of intimate heart-swelling songs.

In accordance with the tense and weighty musical tone, all the songs lyrically swing for the emotional fences, and are often successful as the intertwining vocals imbue the songs with a real sense of heartbreak lived.  Lyrics are always tricky - too specific and it can become a teenage diary entry, too universal and it can become a Coldplay song about, I don’t know, some general girl Chris Martin saw on TV in a bar with the sound down, I suppose?  And while they do rest on cliche sometimes - a clumsy Tennyson appropriation sticks out - they’re at their most potent when delivering real emotional shots with stripped, direct lines such as "…and part of you died inside that night", or, "all the light is where you are."  

Much of the EP’s quality comes from Pine the Pilcrow’s tendency to draw from various genres without fully committing to any: folksy violin plays off cinematic chordal builds, much in the way that Warren Ellis and Nick Cave conjure their musical storms, or how the Frames became masterful at bending and blending modern indie and folk to their own ends.  And these songs relish setting up atmospheric cloudbursts and drawing tension from watching the inevitable drama unfold. The EP’s thoughtful structure moves confidently from the scene setting panoramic melancholia of ‘Part of You Died’ and ‘It’s Only Love,’ into the jazzy, smoky, unsettling chords of 'Saviour'.  Finally, ‘Where You Are’ closes things out with a change of pace, as piano gives way to acoustic guitar and a moody Dirty Three style intro builds into a yearning strumalong, adding a well judged shot of hope along with the biggest chorus of the set.

Minimalist melody makers Pine the Pilcrow, performing their beautiful piano driven score 'Mirrors & Lights', accompanied by the effortless Humanitarian Orchestra. Recorded live at Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral, December 3rd, 2015.

The most exciting thing about this collection of songs is the fact that it comes on a debut EP, as Pine the Pilcrow hone and refine their sound. There’s a huge amount of promise here, and with their distinctive setup and winning way with an atmospheric build, what remains to be seen is whether they choose to expand upon their sound, building to grander, more explosive crescendos, or whether they whittle and refine, drawing more and more dramatic tension from the diamond making pressure of their bare-bones setup.  Either way seems really exciting. Cos it really feels like you’re catching them at the cusp.

The Pine The Pilcrow EP will officially be released on the 27th of March with the launch night in Alan Hannah's Bookshop in Rathmines, Dublin 6, the day before.

Like / Listen & Follow:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pinethepilcrow

Pine The Pilcrow Tour Dates

26th March – Alan Hanna’s Bookshop, Rathmines (EP Launch)
27th March – On The Rox, Smithfield
5th April – The Ruby Sessions, Doyles Bar
13th April – The Globe Bar
18th April – The International Bar
29th April – Connolly’s Of Leap, Cork

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