Between The Pine
Between The Pine
[Hot Porta Records - 2005]
*Sixeyes Score: 7.9 out of 10
This one man band from Rhode Island, Between The Pine [a.k.a. Jim Diotte], is without a doubt my favourite artist of 2006. What? What's that? The year 2006 is hardly two weeks old? All right... so far, Between The Pine is my favourite and will most certainly be my 'Discovery of the Year'. And I truly hope he is one of yours as well. I stumbled upon the fantastic songs of Between The Pine a short time ago and have previously written about the music and artist here and here. One of these pieces was a brief review of the FREE downloadable EP available at 80H Records, but those songs have grown more pleasing as time passed(the three tracks you can grab can be found on the full length album as well). When I heard another song from the full length, "Bronze Shoes", it just further confused me as to why I hadn't heard of this artist, because it's another strong track--one with a chorus that will corkscrew into you and swell until you're singing and swaying along. "Bronze Shoes" has, as many of these songs do, been given an indie folkiness by the addition of an accordion--an instrument which finds itself somewhere between a Hammond organ's atmospheric power and a harmonica's French film soundtrack playfulness--this song also, due to it's strong melody line and the accordion, stirs up welcome echoes of The Arcade Fire... if they were playing for you and you alone in the back of a mini van or in a dark corner at a noisy party. The song also boasts the pleasant surprise of backing vocals from Diotte's wife, Robin Toste.
The album opener, the feathery "Sit down, Shut Up", melds the familiar feel of a Beatles-like rhythm guitar and a much less familiar, but pleasing, vocal which resembles Baxter Dury (son of Brit legend, Ian Dury). While the song, "We Awoke", enters, or draws us into, the unique universe of Sufjan Stevens, if he lived in a art house film shot in France, or another of those 'old country' countries with a laissez-faire attitude. It's the vibraphone, or xylophone, that lends a European air to the melody and which always stirs images of foreign films and sub-titles in my mind. "We Awoke" starts sadly and beautifully and stays that way--only adding more layers of blue over the waltzing alabaster melody. A standout track which has been granted a precious fold of gray matter in my skull, an area labeled 'permanent memory", smack up against the 'feel good' center. Other highpoints include "I'll Carry On My Father's Joke", "We All Know Where You Are", and "Shoot Me In The Spine".
A dash of Sufjan Stevens, a little lo-fi indie, an eccentric mix of instrumentation, and a timelessness that evades reasoning is what the debut album from Between The Pine is all about.
If I can turn just a few people onto this great music then the songs themselves will do the rest. You should give Jim Diotte and the DIY gems he cuts in his Rhode Island basement studio a little time, but no effort... oh no, it's no effort at all to listen to imagination and talent.
+ bronze shoes
+ we all know where you are
[Mp3s with permission of Jim Diotte]
Between The Pine's homepage
Between The Pine Tracklist
1 Sit Down, Shut Up**
2 I'll Carry On My Father's Joke**
3 Bronze Shoesd
4 Shoot Me In The Spine
5 Robbie, Brute Of The Brawlers
6 We All Know Where You Are
7 She's Got Eyes Upon Her Back
8 We Awoke**
9 There's No Room For The Light
10 Capo 8
**These tracks are available as mp3s here or here.