Review by Shannon Shumaker
Pentimento make very good use of the big and small moments in their new album, I, No Longer. A great example of this comes in the very first song on the album, titled “Small Talk For Strangers.” Starting off I, No Longer on an emotional high, you can practically feel the longing in vocalist Jeramiah Pauly’s voice, whether it’s in the soft, quiet vocals in the beginning of the song, or later when the full band comes together. The emotion seems to explode toward the end of the song when the whole band comes in, and by the time “Small Talk For Strangers” fades into the big following track, “My Solution Is In The Lake,” I, No Longer promises to be an incredible release.
Sure enough, “My Solution Is In The Lake” keeps that emotional high that is established in the first track. Stepping away from “Small Talk For Strangers,” though, “My Solution Is In The Lake” feels much bigger and fuller and is very crisp and beautiful. Two songs in, and it’s obvious that I, No longer is going to be a game changer for Pentimento, and as the album progresses, it just gets better and better. “Sink Or Swim” continues to progress things, as it picks up the pace and is very poppy, catchy and upbeat. Thought the longing in this song is still very prominent, Pentimento prove that not every song needs to sound mellow and sad to still mean something. Again, “Sink Or Swim” is also a great example of the strong use of big and small moments in this album. The quiet moments in this song make the big and catchy moments even stronger. For instance, the very soft and high pre chorus right before the song’s second chorus is absolutely stunning.
With each track, Pentimento just seem to one up themselves. Following the upbeat “Sink Or Swim” is “Clever Reason,” which, while slower, is just as strong as the songs before it. “Clever Reason” is still catchy and memorable, and is carried heavily by beautiful vocal harmonies and a very strong guitar tone. This song, like “Sink Or Swim” sounds completely different from the songs before it, but doesn’t sound out of place, either. “Stuck Forever,” the next track, has that same longing feeling that is a constant throughout the rest of the album, but feels quite a bit brighter than the other songs.
The great thing about I, No Longer is that there isn’t just one standout track. Nearly every song on this album is distinguishable and strong for its own reasons. “Got My Answer,” for instance, is mellow and slow, contrasting well with songs like “Sink Or Swim” or “Stuck Forever,” but doesn’t sound out of place. “Gateway” sounds very different from the songs that come before it, as well. The standout in this track are the crisp lyrics and vocal harmonies. Things also really seem to wind down with “Gateway” and “Tiger Eye,” which is also very mellow, but explodes in a beautiful way.
Pentimento are fantastic at connecting these slower songs and the more upbeat tracks and using them to contrast and compliment one another. On top of that, strong and emotional lyricism is a strong point in every single song while still remaining catchy and sing-along worthy. While it does seem that the end of I, No Longer loses some of the momentum that was established early in the album, the beautiful instrumentals, honest lyrics and strong vocals easily make up for that change. “Slow But Sure” picks up the pace again, but with very sad and melancholy lyrics, starting off with the line, “I used to be someone that I could feel proud of/But you know how things change.” Closing out the album is “Tell Me” starting out with just drums, setting it apart from every other song, and hosts some beautiful guitar work and soft, emotional vocals.
I, No Longer promises to be a game changing release for Pentimento, who pull out all of the stops for this release. There are these quiet, emotional moments in the vocals, coupled with soft guitar, but in the blink of an eye, the song will build and explode into the full band with loud, longing vocals. The contrasting moments in this album compliment one another perfectly, making each song well worth listening to. From emotional lyrics and beautiful vocal harmonies to gorgeous guitar work and incredibly strong songwriting choices, I, No Longer is captivating from start to finish.
Listen to "Sink Or Swim," "Clever Reason" or "Stuck Forever"
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