Ottawa natives Pine mix post-punk, emo and dream-pop in their cathartic EP ‘Pillow Talk’. Their first release on No Sleep Records, it’s a unique take on the genre(s) that fully embraces the candidness of emo. With a sometimes-overwhelming focus on heartbreak and loss, it won’t appeal to everybody, but it fits well with the label’s diverse fanbase.
Opener ‘Dolya’ is a drowsy track awash with melancholic guitars. Deschamp’s ethereal vocals beautifully express the self-destructive longing: “It’s too late to turn around, I’ve ‘come accustomed to this sound.” The bass line kicks in as her resignation grows, her voice stubborn against plucking guitars.
Guitars swagger in on ‘Viable’, kept in check by Joey Demers’ definitive percussion. The track demonstrates Pine’s broad appeal – while audible indie-rock and emo influences will appeal to fans of Into It. Over It. or The Hotelier, urgent vocals in the chorus evoke Tonight Alive’s polished arena rock.
The EP turns haunting on ‘Un(Rest)’, an ode to the “disease” of love that showcases Deschamp’s delicate upper register. Ambient guitars set the mood, reverberating across soulful confessions (“I can’t fall asleep without the rest of me”) before towering over them as the chorus repeats to fade.
The next episode of this addictive love, ‘Jilt’, continues with this atmosphere of isolation. Self-aware lyrics like “I wonder what we look like with the sun in our eyes, are we that blind?” cut through the poeticism, revealing a growing cynicism.
Dreamy ‘Blue Jacket’ closes off the EP in a serenade of piano and strings as the desperate, unrequited love reaches rock-bottom. Both thematically and musically, there’s a definite nostalgia to ‘Pillow Talk’ that fans of early-2000s emo will appreciate.
While this capsule collection avoids becoming overly saccharine, it’ll be interesting to see how Pine tackle a future full-length album. Until then, it’s an excellent start to their time on No Sleep Records; this is wearing your heart on your sleeve, with guts.
‘Pillow Talk’ EP by Pine is released 9th June on No Sleep Records.
Words by Clare O’Shea (@Clare_OShea)