LABEL: HOLY ROAR RECORDS
WORDS: AMY ALBINSON
In the short, staccato title of ‘Loss’ Manchester-based collective Pijn delve into the darkness of a raw and emotional hell. Their incisive debut, released 26th October through Holy Roar Records, sees each track meld into the next with the adjustments of tone and mood never straying far from the overarching desolate landscape the band have found themselves caught within.
Opening track ‘Denial’ kicks off the record with a distant, spiralling cry that collides full-speed into echo-laden, heaving guitars. This initial shock moves rapidly into an instrumental melodic act of confusion as emotions run high, overlapping and twisting into a drowning numbness, a theme that runs deep throughout the record. The track ends on a violin-led softness where the fragility of fear is palpable.
“…By allowing the public a part in the record there’s a hope that catharsis will bring healing. “
‘Detach’ enters with a painful slowness trailing along a line of drawn-out breathy vocals. Each word is uncomfortably emotionless as the repetition of ‘is this happening’ becomes residually haunting. It’s a far cry from the discordant energy of following track ‘Distress’ that floods in with heavily distorted guitars as the band’s instruments begin to take on guttural wailings of their own. The offbeat, unsteady time signatures of this track give way to a feeling of real unease.
So much of this record feels purposeful, and is a grand undertaking for a debut, as they flit between the stages of grief, moving from light and delicate keys to jarring, atmospheric bass lines. A Shepard’s tone connects the tracks, ever spiralling downwards as it connects the end of the album back to the beginning, encompassing the cyclical realities of loss. As a band that have previously shied away from lyrics, quiet words now underline the record, stemming from personal experiences they asked their fans to share with them. Arriving in the forms of audio clips, poetry and art, these tales have been used in the album’s visuals and the soundtrack itself as the band have sampled and distorted spoken word. By allowing the public a part in the record there’s a hope that catharsis will bring healing. ‘Unspoken’ sits as the centrepiece of the record, offering a long break for introspective thought at over 18 minutes in length. Constantly rising in a tide of soaring guitars, minimalist keys and prolonged violins the band give way to the feelings of loss much harder to describe with words.
“a captivating journey that speaks volumes of what this band is capable of.”
What is undeniably haunting is the unrelenting repetition that encapsulates the cycle of seclusion and desperation in the album. Whilst being a difficult listening experience at times the record is, overall, a captivating journey that speaks volumes of what this band is capable of.