Emo’s love affair with all things atmospheric and moody is nowhere close to finished just yet, meaning there are plenty of new faces trying to get as much mileage out of the sound as they can. Pine are exactly that sort of band, positioning new EP Pillow Talk to hit the same that Citizen and Turnover have already monopolised.
But really, what Pine are doing here is the sound of a genre going through some major fatigue, as Pillow Talk has a hard time getting much out of its source material. This is mainly on Pine themselves, and how their preferences for slower, more shoegaze-esque sounds mean they can fall off the beaten path more times than would be preferable. (Un)rest and – to a slightly lesser extent – Jilt completely fall away from any sort of structure in favour of wavy, melancholic guitar lines that don’t have the gravitas they think they do, and while Darlene Deschamps’ vocals have more likable clarity than many of her fuzz-buried contemporaries, any discernible vocal melodies fade into the ether behind the impregnable, directionless walls.
What’s even more disheartening is that, on this very EP, Pine show that they can do so much better. Viable has the benefit has the benefit of some pace and pop sensibilities for a far more palatable approximation of this sound, and the sinuous indie-folk of Blue Jacket still has those faintly-sketched boundaries, but built around darker strings and acoustic guitar that lays some more stable foundations. It puts into perspective how much of a difference just a shot of melody makes, keeping Pine’s ethereal sound intact while making it as palatable and accessible as possible.
It’s for that reason along that Pine are an act worth keeping tabs on, even if Pillow Talk isn’t the greatest introduction. Even if it isn’t entirely shown here, Pine clearly have an ear for some fantastically lush melodic moments, and when they’re ready to fully develop those moments, they could have something truly great in the future. There are pieces on Pillow Talk that really work; Pine just need to find a way to connect them.
For fans of: Milk Teeth, Citizen, Turnover
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Pillow Talk’ by Pine is released on 9th June on No Sleep Records.