Artist Review: Luna Pines

‘If you’ve ever felt alone, this may well be the musical comfort you require.’

Intro to Luna Pines:
If you are looking for a band that takes inspiration from the individual battles of life, Luna Pines are it. Formed back in 2016 (originally as a 5 piece with male vocals), this alternative/electro-pop trio consisting of Olivia Ferrara, Lotte van den Berg & Ellie Flynn are on a mission to take life’s dark moments and turn them into thought-provoking musical ones. Perfectly showcasing this approach, their latest track ‘My Own Ceiling’ reflects the struggles of dealing with severe anxiety disorder, while their previous release ‘Off Your Island’ allows for self-reflection. If you’ve ever felt alone, this may well be the musical comfort you require. [Read the full interview here]

Featured Track 1: Off Your Island
Setting out with an ethereal-like synth and a half-tempo drum beat, the introduction to ‘Off Your Island,’ (released April 2017), is one that doesn’t really give anything away. Dream-like and free sounding in nature, it gently surrounds your ears as we move towards the initial lyrics. Unprocessed and true sounding, George Gretton’s solo vocal perfectly reflects the island theme. Equally, a lack of pulse within the sustained background synth gives an unstructured atmosphere.  It’s a calming beginning however, there is to soon be a clear sense of rhythm in the form a drum pattern.

Changing gear dramatically at the halfway point of the initial lyrics, the track begins to gain momentum. Switching to double time, the drum pattern brings a greater sense of purpose, structure and regularity. It isn’t however used as you may expect. Cutting out at times to reveal a gorgeously smooth alto saxophone line, a more soulful edge begins to emerge. Combined perfectly, it makes for a truly wonderful sound.

Moving towards the second half of the track, the initial atmosphere is embellished through the gentle introduction of new sweeping layers. Perfectly placed in the mix, they are noticeable, but not distracting, meaning your attention remains focused on the lyrics. Continually filled with reflection and longing, they guide us to the track’s mid-point where all accompaniment is removed, leaving just George’s melancholic sounding vocal.

Taking us to the latter section, the more overlapping accompaniment returns. This time though the saxophone’s fragmented melody is more developed. Weaving freely among the existing textures, its improvised nature is the perfect musical nod to the earlier atmosphere of the track. Likewise, the initially structured lyrics are transformed into fragmented multi-tracked ones and as the track closes, you can’t help but feel reflective.

Featured Track 2: My Own Ceiling
Released in September, ‘My Own Ceiling’ opens with an overlapping mix of distorted and clipped samples. Panning furiously, it’s a completely disorientating atmosphere. However, while it may seem like a bold move, the fact it perfectly reflects the confusion felt in times of high anxiety and depression, makes it without doubt, the right move.

Reaching the first verse, the mood alters significantly and an accompaniment comprised of melodic synth patterns, echoing bass lines and deep house beats emerges. Giving a sense of regularity, it’s a beautiful, almost relaxing atmosphere. Delicately sitting on top of this, Olivia’s vocal begins to pull us in to the real story behind the track. It’s a chilled out sound and contrasting perfectly with the emotion felt in the lyrics, it starts to moves you.

Developing from this, the chorus sees the introduction of a delicate guitar line. Gradually emerging, it lightly dances around the existing textures and as it does so, the panned ideas continue to swirl around you. Here, you also begin to notice how similar the sound is to their earlier release, and as Lotte explains in the band’s Behind the Music feature, there are very good reasons for this.

As the section moves along, the sound also becomes less disorientating and with lyrics such as, ‘I’m not in the ground just yet,’ coming to the fore, there is musical reflection of coming out of the dark times. However, just as this more positive edge begins to emerge, an unexpected, less structured interlude occurs.

Based on the previous ideas, the guitar melody grows into a beautifully light, but ambiguous sounding melody. Contrasting with the lyrics of ‘It’s a terrible thing,’ it’s a poignant moment which reminds us of mixed emotions. Taking this further, perfectly mixed distant voices join with the developing textures. Seamlessly reflecting the inner voices of anxiety, it’s immensely clever storytelling.

Taking us towards the end of the track, the earlier accompanying ideas return, but don’t think for one second it’s going to sound the same. This time there is a more determined sound full of self-belief. Developing all the time, the final section combines interwoven textures with subtle, touching changes of lyrics and in doing so, drowns in musicality right to the end.

Both ‘Off Your Island’ and ‘My Own Ceiling are available to purchase on iTunes now and you can keep up to date with their musical developments by following them on Twitter.

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