The Come Back EP
LIFE AND DEATH
On first liste to Pillow Talk’s The Come Back, the lead single off the San Francisco trio’s debut EP, the age of the music sounds quite ambiguous. Echoed handclaps, terse drums, a funky guitar lick and a chorus of ‘la-la-la’ bring to mind 60s pop, doo-wop, and hip-hop all at once. It doesn’t sound all that new, but it doesn’t sound like something your parents would listen to either. Lead singer Samuel Doylestien croons almost like Scott Walker, with the catchy line “baby baby/ it seems like a very long time/ since you’ve gone/ the thought of you/ is messing up my mind.” The song then halts to its chant of “come back baby come back” amidst shaker percussion and a Soul Clap-esque bassline that brings the song out of the past. The changes musically keep the listener involved as it evolves through the end, and makes the what could be considered cliché chant of “come back baby come back” catchy as hell.
Long Lost Friends breaks in with a Latin groove and runs on a simple bassline before breaking down to handclaps and building back up again into the familiar groove. It definitely plays the role of a subdued instrumental B-side to the catchy A-side, but almost draws it back too much in comparison and leaves you wanting something more from the song. Soft delivers this, another mellow tune, but this time fitted with a catchy chorus. The mute guitar chords are delivered gently over the deep hum of the Wurlitzer electric piano as Doylestien delivers the lines, ‘we can stay all night/ listening to the sound/ of the lonely beating of your heart/breaks down to me/ feeling low/ No more wasting time/ you’re being soft again I know/ come out tonight/dry off your eyes/don’t let it show.’ This one strikes a balance between the first two tracks on the record, and reconfirms that PillowTalk can really write lyrics that get stuck in your head.
The Life and Death remixes here faced a difficult challenge here of making some great songs better, notably The Come Back. The remix takes a bit of a darker turn, handclaps and hollow synths leading the way. The jumpy bassline gets reused which spikes the take up a bit, and definitely makes an effort to drive it home. The problem seems to be the elements of the original don’t match the atmosphere of the remix, and proves to be a bit of an awkward listen. The remix of Soft doesn’t stray too far from the original in terms of elements, and works the bassline a bit harder, but again the live instruments of PillowTalk seem to jar a bit with the Life and Death production.
With a host of influences and directions, PillowTalk seem prime to bust onto the scene in the next year. The first release, a single on the Visionquest Beach Collection, an upcoming single on Wolf + Lamb, and an expected full-length in 2012 makes for quite the run. As one of the few live bands appearing on these labels, it seems fitting the trio is striking now as a move towards hip-hop, poppier, almost more accessible ‘house music’ productions are coming from these labels. I guess you could call it a ‘come back,’ but for Pillow Talk, they’re just getting started.