The Pines - True Love Waits Volume Two EP

matinée 048  /  September 2003
The Pines - True Love Waits Volume Two EP
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The Pines - True Love Waits Volume Two EP

matinée 048  /  September 2003

Matinée debut from top London pop duo The Pines, featuring the prolific and wonderful Joe Brooker (also one-half of The Foxgloves) and the incomparable loveliness of Pam Berry. Pam's distinguished resume includes association with countless indie undertakings of the past decade, including Belmondo, Black Tambourine, Bright Coloured Lights, The Castaway Stones, Chickfactor, Glo Worm, The Seashell Sea, The Shapiros, The Snowdrops, and Veronica Lake, plus guest spots on recent recordings by The Clientele, Jasmine Minks, The Lucksmiths, The Relict, and The Saturday People. In other words, this gal can sing! This superb EP is the second half of the thematically-related "True Love Waits" series (the first recently released on fresh DC imprint Foxyboy Records) featuring the most compelling Pines compositions to date. With five exclusive new songs, "True Love Waits Volume Two" showcases the strong songwriting, intricate guitars, clever lyrics and exquisite harmonies that make the Pines so special.

  1. Ungrammatical
  2. Anita O'Day
  3. Marie Claire
  4. Familiar
  5. The Rest


A welcome return to these pages for the Pines who if memory serves correctly last appeared here knocking us flat on our faces with the divine ‘Please don’t get Married’ single from what seems like ages ago. ‘True love waits’, yum yum. Fresh from her guest slot on last year’s very excellent Relict album, (which if you haven’t bought now, then shame on you, your record collection is screaming for it or don’t you care?) Pam Berry resumes her partnership with Joe Brooker as the pop franchise The Pines. Five more smouldering counts of deliciously served quintessential folk pop, The Pines will never rock your world but they’ll sure as hell make you swoon till your dizzy with their coaxing harmonies and cautiously nimble arrangements. If anything ‘True love waits’ hints vaguely at early Belle and Sebastian non more so than on the dreamy ‘Marie Claire’ where upon the duo take a gentle detour to play the pristine pop card, complimenting boy / girl vocals ooze, tenderly sparring against the cascading drifting like chord weaves. Nothing quite prepares for the numbing ‘Familiar’ as it gracefully flutters hazily like as though it’s just fell off the back of the Smiths debut album, tumbling chords very much with that classic cavernous Marr touch gently caress Berry’s breathlessly angelic vocals. That said it’s the opening track ‘Ungrammatical’ that holds out for the plaudits, with a cappella delivery it has that sophisticated touch of Christmas carolling about it as Berry delivers a humorous tale of a boyfriends badly written love letters. Simply gorgeous as if you needed telling.   --Losing Today
I’m getting tired flipping vinyl, so I’m gonna fire up the coffee machine and hit the CD player. First in the tray is a five tracker for Matinée by The Pines. Wasn’t there some edict back in the day that said that only records with four or less tracks were eligible for the singles chart? Or am I dreaming? Well whatever, assuming there was, I guess that makes this Pines record not a single, and therefore disqualified from this column… ha ha. But The Pines of course are Pop, and this ‘True Love Waits, Volume Two’ is finely in the tradition of the great Pop EP, as popularised back in the ‘50s and early ‘60s by the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Benny Goodman, Les Paul and Mary Ford or Shorty Rogers and His Giants. Not that it sounds like those names from the ark, but rather that the Pines are invested with some kind of shared aesthetic which due to their current context marks them down as strange dreamers; with heads full of high neck dresses and Buddy Holly glasses they deliver gently sharp and smart mementoes of a past they are too young to remember. In this The Pines are like the sadly forgotten Grenadine who similarly gave us a series of genius ‘50s tinged records back in the ‘90s. So when you’re sipping your hot cocoa in front of the fire this winter or sipping cocktails in the twilight digging The Pines, go dig out those old Grenadine records as well. You know it makes sense.   --Tangents
The second half of the True Love Waits series originated on Foxyboy Records, this showcases 5 just wonderful examples of modern folk behaviour with wry, intelligent lyrics and an uncomplicated musical style reminiscent of Camera Obscura. On opener ‘Ungrammatical’ they might even be said to dip into ‘early music’ elegance, as Pam Berry’s lucid Kirsty MacColl like vocal floats over cascading acapella support. The EP finishes with ‘The Rest’, 8 minutes of vivid calm to soak the soul, but the highlight for me is ‘Marie Claire’, a dryly comic two hander between Berry and Joe Brooker featuring wonderful, and underplayed, lamenting lines such as “maybe you should never have taken that job at the NUM, you know how jealous I get of those men, fresh from the pits and the negotiations...” An unexpected delight.   --Vanity Project
"The boy I sent a rose is a stickler for good prose," sings Pam Berry on "Ungrammatical," the first track on True Love Waits Volume Two, the new EP from the Pines. A goofy acapella pop song about a copy editor who loses his strictness about grammar when he writes love letters, it could easily have been the 70th Love Song in Stephin Merritt's magnum opus. Yet what makes it more than just cute is how it's set up as a hymn, with Berry and the duo's other half, Joe Brooker, providing a vocal backdrop that's simply gorgeous. Crafting a beautiful melody and having beautiful voices sing it is part of what The Pines are about. That's enough right there to recommend the EP, but there's more. "Ungrammatical" is followed by "Anita O' Day," a song with a melody that is so much more than pretty. The melody alone has a real weight to it that makes it touching; combined with clever but heartfelt lyrics about the complexity of relationships makes it even more so. The EP is filled out with three more songs that are pretty and catchy, have wit and a sense of humor, yet also hit you in the gut with truths about love. "Marie Claire" is a lovely duet about sacrificing love for career, while on "Familiar" Berry sings a stark, haunting love ode. The EP ends with the brilliant "The Rest," 8 melancholy minutes of Brooker exploring the ways love goes astray. "What the world needs now is love without the tears," he sings at one point. True Love Waits Volume Two gives us love in all its sadness and beauty, within some of the best-written pop songs you'll hear.   --Erasing Clouds
Maybe it is because I know that The Pines are based in London, or maybe it is because the only time I’ve seen them play it was in London, but for me "Ttrue love waits volume two" has a distinct London feeling about it. In my mind the harmonies from the duo, consisting of Joe Brooker and Pam Berry, combined with gently strummed guitars seem best at home among secluded residential streets of London. Calm, acoustic tunes glide easily from the EP bringing cleverly worded tails to make you think. I am nervous writing about the first song on the EP, 'Ungrammatical' because I am atrocious at spelling and often show flagrant disregard for most grammatical rules. The song, sung in cappella by Pam and Joe, tells the story of a strict copy editor who’s frustration mounts as he proof reads articles written by clumsy writers, but forgets all of these rules when writing to the one he loves. 'Marie Claire' is a simple but catchy tune acts out the petty bickering between two people trying to work out why their relationship lacks the passion of the former days. Although the subject of the matter is poignant, the clever wording of the lyrics contains a dry humour, which is sure to have you smiling: "Though I maintain it was information not radiation not necessarily devastation...Speaking of which, is your mother coming by tomorrow?" The EP is beautiful, with a fragile strength that will only grow the more you listen.   --Friends of the Heroes
London pop duo the Pines offer up delicate pop on their debut for Matinée Recordings, True Love Waits, Vol. 2. The first two tracks that kick off the EP show where the Pines excel. "Ungrammatical" is an a cappella ditty that is unique in its sophisticated vocal arrangements, the stylings sounding a bit like Elizabethan ballads. The influence of Magnetic Fields shines through on "Anita O'Day," with the vocals of Pam Berry reminding one of Susan Anway. Joe Brooker and Pam Berry create the perfect mix of a Belle & Sebastian and Magnetic Fields sound, while making it their own through the airy arrangements. Light, breezy tunes softly strum along with dreamy production on True Love Waits, Vol. 2, a decent EP of note.   --All Music Guide
Five tracks and nineteen minutes in which London duo The Pines (The Foxgloves’ Joe Brooker and Sally Oldfield soundalike Pam Berry) take acoustic folk into Kirsty MacColl’s gutter, lift it up to Sandy Denny’s vision of nirvana then frolic in the Pacific Ocean with Morrissey (really!). Look at that, I got all the way through without mentioning the most obvious touchstone, Belle & Seb…   --Logo Magazine
On this understated five-song EP, this male/female English duo seems to have a certain target audience in mind: Belle-and-Sebastian-listening grad-school types who appreciate songs about midlife crisis and overeducated failure, replete with references to punctuation nuances, the Shelleyan imagination and the like. You know who you are -- you own dozens of paperback Oxford Classics (because they're more durable than Penguins), you don't entirely trust people who don't wear glasses, and you've more than once considered "librarian" to be the ideal job -- and this disc is for you. Using little more than an acoustic guitar, a tambourine and their unadorned, somewhat dowdy voices, the Pines spin lovely sprung melodies, effectively harmonizing when appropriate, from their literate lyrics -- witty and rueful reflections on the afflictions of the shy and bookish that never grow too precious or too fey. The group is modest without being slight, sketching their songs with a deceptive simplicity that masks how hard it is to pull off this kind of wistful folk without sounding too polite, or like Peter, Paul and Mary. The a capella "Ungrammatical" features a Christmas carol sort of arrangement and is laden with a too-clever lyric spinning out its grammar motif to the point where only English teachers would be amused. "Anita O'Day" is more successful in its choice of metaphor, the frequently junked-out and largely underappreciated jazz singer who was known for her rhythmically complex scatting. The duet "Marie Claire" explores the dismal career choices facing your average English major, invigorating that unsurprising dilemma with some pointed exchanges and well-observed details. The love song "Familiar" also builds on a base of vivid and specific observations, which adds to its poignancy. Closer "The Rest", at eight minutes, is extremely long in comparison to the rest, but earns its length with its sweetly rollicking tempo and the effective shifts in urgency between the beginning and the end of the verses. On the whole, the EP isn't perfect, but in a world that offers little consolation to the shy, quiet and bookish, records such as this should be celebrated.   --Splendid
Melancholic South London duo The Pines are the closet folkies in Matinée's pop firmament. This low-key, lyrically astute stuff sounds grown-up, as opposed to "adult;" worldly, as opposed to wordy. It's good.   --The Big Takeover Magazine