Pijn and The ‘Floodlit’ EP.
Cover photo credit: Szegedi eseménytár.
Pijn, from Manchester, have a name that I’m ashamed to say I’ve been mispronouncing for the best part of a month. The name is Dutch, sounds like “pine” (not pigeon – my bad) and translates to “pain” or “ache”.
You may be forgiven for thinking that the band’s music might turn out to be a tough listen, with a name like that and sitting on the Holy Roar roster alongside some of the most blissfully aggressive and abrasive bands around at the moment, but although Pijn absolutely know how to produce crushing noise, this is an EP comprised of light and shade and a lot of the heaviness they dole out is a result of the emotional weight that each track seems to bear.
Floodlit started life as a guitar and drum demo, however over time developed Katamari-like with additional musicians contributing parts from around the country to the finished product. These remote collaborations have been compiled with a great degree of care, and the end result is a grand, sprawling sound that evokes the Post-Rock of Godspeed! You Black Emperor at times, but with moments where the layers of strings, lap steel and ambient drones underpin Post-Metal aggression and power.
Beautifully arranged cello and violin appear throughout the record, often sliding between notes with a Middle Eastern feel, piano and lap steel provide ethereal texture and saxophone makes an appearance with a particular highlight being a cacophonous breakdown that hits all the wrong notes in just the right way.
Opening track ‘Dumbstruck’ and ‘Floodlit’ opens with a wash of strings and feedback, before progressively uplifting guitar and a barrage of drums quickly bring energy and urgency. As the track becomes darker in tone, it slows to a medieval crawl – organic and gradual time shifts are something the band do often and very well.
Ethereal, floating vocals give way to stark cello and then utter silence before the track quite unexpectedly explodes with energy again, with a roaring, guttural vocal, and proceeds into a crescendo of ever increasing power. At just over eight minutes, the band have packed a lot in to this track but it still feels like it has space to breathe without being over long.
The two middle tracks, ‘Hazel’ and ‘Cassandra’, are both short and relatively subdued, and seem to act as bridges between the longer tracks book-ending the EP. ‘Hazel’ is a collage of sound that builds on layers of piano and ambient noise, gradually increasing in intensity with layers of feedback before diminishing.
‘Cassandra’s’ solo fuzz guitar picks out a melody that acts almost as an intro to the next track, than as a fully developed track in itself. Both of these shorter segments work well however and provide a respite from the squall of sound on either side of them.
‘Lacquer’ begins with incessant drums pounding underneath singer and guitarist Joe Clayton’s low bark. This song is an assault from the get go in contrast to the slow build of the EPs opener. Layers of tremolo drenched feedback and strings eventually subside into a slow, delicate section with a repeating guitar line. What weaves and builds around the guitar with strings, saxophone and feedback is beautiful – this is clever, considerately arranged music. A short French Spoken Word monologue fades in, reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘A Reminder’, before the EP draws to a close.
With Floodlit, Pijn have delivered a debut EP that would put many established bands to shame. Despite being largely instrumental, the EP delivers an emotional impact that befits their name, and swings between mournful desolate moments, dark, moody soundscapes and uplifting, fist in the air triumph. I’m looking forward to seeing what they produce next, as if this debut is anything to go on they are most definitely a band to watch.
Floodlit is out now on Holy Roar Records.
Find out more about Pijn here:
- Social Media/Updates: Facebook, Twitter.
- Music: bandcamp, Spotify.
- Holy Roar Records: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Official Site, bandcamp, Youtube Channel.