photocomfort truly came out of nowhere. Unassuming indie folk/pop at its core, the far-too-short self-titled EP accomplishes a great deal within its rather limited time span. Simply put, it’s been one of the most pleasantly confounding introductions to an artist I’ve had in quite some time. It’s not everyday (month, or year for that matter) that an artist sends something over that makes you think, makes you feel, or reminds you that, yes, you’re alive in that little body of yours.
On the one hand, I was immediately struck by the sheer grandeur of Justine Bowe’s seemingly small-scale effort. “Five measly songs?” I thought, “I’ll be done with those in a weekend. That feature will be written up in no time.” On the other hand, I was so irrevocably humbled by even thinking about putting finger to keyboard that… I simply couldn’t manage. Emotions were just so many, the words simply too few.
So I gave the “five measly songs” another week. Then another. I quite possibly sat on this EP for two months listening almost every day. “How the hell does this thing keep me so interested?” I wondered day in and out. I’m still wondering why, and how she has managed such a flawless debut, such a heartwarming, life-ruminating effort.
I believe that it comes down to the fact that my mind just simply refuses to comprehend the fact that, yes, a five-song EP can have just as much impact, if not more, than a full length. photocomfort is a perfect example of one such phenomenon.
Alongside her 5+ member band of talented musicians, Justine paints five incredibly vibrant murals with her far-reaching aural palette. Throughout the EP, she expertly lines her soothing-but-deceptively-poignant vocals with ambition matched with a certain indescribable audacity. Compositions demonstrate incredibly detailed contours, driven mainly by impeccably designed melodies and vocal harmonies, spiced with the light artistic touches only experienced in professional performances.
Instrumentals are as deep as they are varied, with the band employing the likes of pianos, clarinets, glockenspiel, bass, guitars, flutes, cellos, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, violins, and various percussion to help illustrate their large-scale (but pleasantly concise) points. It’s worth noting that even though there is such a large quantity of instruments, they never overshadow the album’s overall musical quality.
This effort simply won’t cease amazing me, even after so many repeated listens. While it may be easy to dismiss after only a listen or two (being only five measly tracks and all), the truly enthralling portion of the photocomfort experience only arrives after the first few weeks.
Let it envelope you, let it show you what it wants to show you. What else do we verily own but that place which only music can take us? photocomfort has already nailed down the destination, all you need to do is get in the car. Just… go.
Sounds like: Feist, The Novel Ideas, Imogen Heap
Stand out tracks:
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/indietronic album
"The Past Is a Story We Tell Ourselves"
I'm told that it sounds like The Album Leaf, Balmorhea, and Emancipator.