If there is any act I have been waiting to watch truly bloom, it’s PINE. The Canadian quintet present their No Sleep Records debut EP, Pillow Talk, which cultivates one of the most thorough and heavy hitting releases of their small scene. With an early EP and split behind them, Pillow Talk will act as many listeners first introduction to the band, and thanks to emotive songwriting and stellar production from Cory Bergeron (Safe To Say), Pillow Talk is a release that is truly full, lush and beautifully draining. No small feat for only five tracks.
Opening with “Dolya,” PINE present the quintessential elements of their sound. Beautifully layered vocals by singer Darlene Deschamps reverberate with tight percussion and rhythms provided by drummer Joey Demers and bassist Andrew Turenne. These rhythms are held together by the far traveling sounds and melodies from guitarists Holden Egan and Peter Ellman. As Deschamps drones, “I think there’s days that make me feel okay,” the painting created is practically finished, constructed by a sound that remains lush, but imperative in not becoming over-saturated with filler, something the scene of alternative rock/shoegaze bands should be better at adhering to. PINE create accessible yet far reaching ballads in their short expressions on Pillow Talk, especially in opener “Dolya.”
“Viable” continues that trend, acting as the more straightforward track of the work. But again, what is so alluring about Pillow Talk is how conceptually apt it is as to when to let little cracks of vibrant sounds and effects burst through. The following track, “(Un)rest,” lets the band flex their muscles, creating a relaxed groove that illustrates a room wide enough for PINE’s lush sound to cultivate in. Led by Deschamp’s unique and alluring timbre, the track builds upon her drained delivery, bustling with sound and building to an immensely beautiful ending.
“Jilt” and “Blue Jacket” continue with the band pushing their songwriting skills. Beginning with vocals buried deep in the mix, “Jilt” explodes with thundering drums that continue to be the foundation for the wide range of sounds leaking off of the canvas. With the line, “I wonder what we look like with the sun in our eyes,” the track paints a dire picture of darkness and grief, drowning in a sea of abundant sound to blanket it. “Blue Jacket” takes the evolution of the work and pushes the boundaries of the band even further. Ending the EP with simplicity is a calming way to conclude ‘Pillow Talk,’ yet Deschamps continues to yearn through her voice. Singing “call me baby, it would mean so much to me, I just want you to see the good in me, I just want you to see the good in us” cling to the sounds of hauntingly beautiful strings that ache just as heavily as her voice and the sounds behind it.
It’s exciting to experience Pillow Talk with the knowledge that PINE are just getting started, and have successfully provided listeners with a release that is beautifully haunting and draining, yet undeniably beautiful. Backed by exceptional production that brings out the best in the band, Pillow Talk is sure to be a favorite from the genre and is sure to sustain the band as one of the most important acts to follow in the future.
Pillow Talk is out June 9 via No Sleep Records.