Pascal Pinon Pascal PinonPascal Pinon
Pascal Pinon was a circus attraction among many. Well, not of many: a huge cranial tumor stuck out of his forehead like an Elvis quiff. On the cusp of it, the circus promoter painted a face with wax and wrote on the poster: “Today, the two-headed Mexican!” It was a hit.
That horror story, with the tag “not suitable for children”, is the name of the band we’re talking about, and which also has a monster with two identical heads, albeit separated, in the form of twin sisters Jófríður and Ásthildur. But not to worry, they’re not trying to scare you. At most, they want to write the best songs they can and exteriorise their adolescent concerns. We say adolescent, because the ones who signed the contract with Berlin label Morr Music were their parents. So laugh about premature artists like Zahner-Isenberg (from Avi Buffalo) or the youngsters of The xx. Here we have a sample of extremely lo-fi intimist pop-folk.
If you pay attention, you will even feel the cold of Reykjavík that lifts the teenage posters from the walls of the room these girls and their friends have turned into their recording studio. At the end of each cuts you will hear the crackle of the chairs and even the cut of the recording. Not to mention the breaths and low voices (there’s a clear example on “New Beginning”). We can’t leave behind the sensation of witnessing rather than a record, a jam session as alive and sparkling as a fizzy drink, which makes attempts at something that sounds homemade via its production techniques (the pornographic variety of which you can find, for example, on Ani DiFranco’s “Educated Guess”). This is purely authentic, and like in the great works that play with the language, like “Ico”, the Icelandic singing evokes an exotic innocence of which the result is the desire to know more about the frozen world of Pascal Pinon. A world inhabited by people like Seabear. The result is what it is, though much more heartfelt than if they would’ve played from a score. For example, on “Sandur”, the power of the flutes lies more in knowing that the ones playing them aren’t experts in contapuntal or atonal melodic progressions or whatever. In other words, Jófríður’s and Ásthildur’s power lies in the closeness of their voices and in the certainty of knowing that when they sing something it’s not because it rhymes but because they mean it. On “I Wrote A Song” (the first single and title track of a recent 7” EP), they tell us that they have written a song of which the lyrics are “all terrible shit”, and that maybe that’s not very good but that it’s something they cannot avoid doing, writing songs.
Just like Au Revoir Simone, who with “Still Night, Still Night” came along a path paved with beautiful artwork, Pascal Pinon also come up with colours and childlike drawings (the Au Revoir Simone sleeve and the one of “I Wrote A Song” are by the same artist, Julia Guther). But it’s never empty beauty. They’re compositions of a couple of fourteen, fifteen or sixteen year old girls. In a way, listening to them is like feeling something for the first time again.