Emilio Pinchi : Absentee EPKlee Music : November 15th 2019
Absentee picks up where Emilio Pinchi’s last EP, Holiday, left things a year ago, with more music from his soft-shoed, indie-folk hymnal.
With eight songs on the cassette version, the new release is a beatific double EP from an emerging master of his craft; defined by its intimate songwriting, elemental arrangements, and a vocal that can sketch a mood in a few bars.
The recordings bring together an echo of the folk daze of Five Leaves Left, a familiarity with the solo work of Elliot Smith and a sweet, melancholic mood previously best painted in another flawless short song collection, Gavin Clark and Ted Barnes’ Somers Town OST.
The opening track of Absentee, Shiver, reflects the essence of the EP - minimally framed, just guitar and voice, and a poetic flow of imagery over a gracefully picked melody.
Not that there isn’t instrumental variety elsewhere. A drum machine and keyboard notably shape the slow unwind of Codependent and flickering charm of Lighthouse. Restrained drums temper the wistful Taking it Slow. But it is Pinchi’s laconic vocal and guitar which take your attention whenever they are in the mix.
All the songs are exquisite existential vignettes.
Warsaw is a lamenting city walk through a haze of recollection. Moving Schools is a loose essay of regret at unforgotten mistreatment of a new classmate, a rueful recall of a time when ‘words can burn like cigarettes’.
Sleep-Debt and 3am Sit-down Meal are the most animated pieces; the latter sleeplessly shimmying closer to pop than earlier tracks have dared - so much so, that in 1981 it could have been a Postcard single.
For every moment of morose, self-deprecating reflection that drifts through these songs, there’s a balance of melodic magic to lift the mood. Absentee is an autumnal, low-key, aural delight; references and influences might be easy to find, but if this EP was a restaurant it’d have a Michelin Star - at that level you don’t think ‘where has this come from?’, you just find joy in what it is.