By Dave Pilla
My shameless self-promotion on Twitter has come up trumps. Dave Pilla (real name: Dave Rees) got in touch for a review of his music and a few bars in my obliging nature was rewarded with smugness. Four songs is an honest selling of wares for the artist and a great way for people to discover new music, so when the songs are as perfectly crafted as this it's a welcomed bonus. The music is warm, subtly embroidered and smooth flowing.
"Where did all the time go?" is where the EP starts, with a dreamy and wistful coastal breeze. This is a very, very strong song and as an introduction to Dave's sound about as accessible as you could wish for. The lyrics are not as light as the melody suggests though and I like this counterpoint enough to hear more. "Waves and tides" intertwines a regular song with a sample to mesmeric effect. I'm long past being easily impressed by samples having spent an unhealthy number of years tracking down originals but soundtrack and spoken word is something else. "The Road Not Taken" from Robert Frost's Mountain Interval collection both carries and is carried by the song. There is an air of uncertainty in journey and yet finality through understanding here. If that sounds a pretentious or a bit like literary guff then maybe listening to it will convince you otherwise.
"Lion's share" jangles along breezily and probably more than anywhere else I hear a melange of all my favourite artists in one place. This is uplifting and sentimental in equal measure and by now, on first listen, I was struggling to believe this was an EP by a local musician unknown to me until an hour ago and not a new release by one of my Bella Union or Jagjaguwar favourites. The threadbare instrumentation and arrangement is the real beauty to this track and I'm desperate to hear it sung live so I can hear it stripped back even more than achieved on this recording. Whereas "In my sole" is the longest offering and allows Dave to really bend around within the music and lyrically I'd say it's the strongest of the four. "I'll write you a letter; I'll give you a call. Draw some shit picture to stick on your wall. But it's not like I'm trying to offload on my own. I just hate to think of you sitting alone" has more than an air of post-modern kitchen sink drama about it and jumping out at me as they did - even on first play - I started to think this guy can really write a song. I mean really write. This isn't throwaway lines about how life is tough blah blah. This is a guy tuned in to the words of great writers, aiming to create authentic idiosyncrasies within his own.
If needed and for a "file alongside" moment on these songs I'm steered toward the likes of Acorn, Port O'Brien, Junip, Field Report, Low Anthem, Bon Iver and Iron & Wine which is fine and dandy from where I'm sitting: there's always space on these shelves to add to my already fit-to-busting Americanaganzarama. Anyway, y'all know what to do next. Visit this page and spend four pounds on one of the finest EPs, local or otherwise, that you'll hear for a very long while. http://davepilla.bandcamp.com/album/dave-pilla
This EP was released a couple of years ago. I'll be reviewing Dave's more recent release, "More than hoped for" very soon.