Scenes, the debut EP from Tralee native PJ Galvin, is the epitome of DIY, produced-in-the-bedroom, sparkle pop. Galvin is a product of the newly founded “DIY LK” scene, whose aim is to create an endearing and supportive atmosphere in which new creative acts can flourish and produce such works as this gorgeous EP.
The brevity of Scenes – a well-rounded, three tracks long EP – only adds to the atmosphere of it, if you ask me. The opening track “When I Get Old” establishes the balance between Galvin’s stripped back style and his flair for 80’s synth-pop. The melodic acoustic guitar at the beginning of the track is matched by vocals of the same calibre. While we’re on the topic of vocals, upon my first listening of the EP it struck me that the vocals in this first track are probably the strongest on the EP. They’re melodic, rhythmic and, most importantly, they’re catchy as hell. I would even go as far as to say that this is the most “radio-friendly” track.
“Cold”, the second track on the EP is undoubtedly my favourite. It immediately struck me that this song could slot perfectly into the soundtrack for a feel-good, coming-of-age film. After mulling it over for a while it hit me as to why – it reminded me of the part in 2012’s Pitch Perfect where “Punching in a Dream” by The Naked and Famous plays. The song starts out so mellow that when the synth comes in (about a minute into the song), it can almost shock you. Upon my first listening, I felt a little unsettled but when I continued listening and realised how excellently the synth fades out and blends into the verse that follows, I was once again in a state of synth-pop nirvana. The track bellows onwards with a hopeful atmosphere. Although some sad undertones do sneak their way into the lyrics “Leaving you at home for the summer, why did we do that to each other?” they are quickly banished by Galvin’s exclamation “CAUSE THE WORLD IS WAITING.” The hope returns. I found myself imagining the song once again as the perfect addition to a coming-of-age, taking-on-the-world film.
The closing song, “To Dry”, definitely has the strongest guitar hook on the EP. On first listening, I thought that the vocals were a bit weaker than the other two songs but after listening to it a few times more I decided that the combination of the drums and guitar makes up for that. That opening riff is so damn catchy. “To Dry” definitely relies less on synths and putting it as the last track was a clever move by PJ – it rounds out the EP quite nicely. Each song could stand on its own but they also work very well together. A recent review on Headstuff.org summed it up perfectly – “The songs all have something different, yet similar.”
Scenes is available now for streaming on Spotify and Youtube. Rumour has it that there may be some live shows in the works too, “I’m currently marshalling the troops…” says PJ. North Kerry is coming up in the world, keep your eyes and ears peeled folks. You can find PJ on Instagram @scenesclassunreal, Twitter @scenesabsolute and Facebook @scenesirl.
By Caoimhe Coleman