Old Pine is formed by Justin Brown (guitar / vocals) and Tony Kissell (drums). For his solo project, under his own name, Justin Brown replaces Tony by a drum machine.
Old Pine is part of this twinkle emo resurgence scene, along Algernon Cadwallader, Dads or Brave Bird, among many others.
Alone, Justin Brown, if he keeps the emotional aspects navigates towards totally different directions, using 80's beats which make him closer to the chillwave scene.
These 3 +1 songs sound a lot like demo's, approximate at times, energetic, full or urgency and rough, and in many ways, these are just more or less very much like these hundreds of anonymous projects which you can cross browsing through blogs.
But two songs, "Soon enough" by Justin Brown and "Dutch Apple Pie" by Old Pine are giving a lasting, arresting, uncommon and special impression.
Both share the same default, they are played really too fast, and it can be quite tiresome after a few spins. "Dutch Apple Pie" sounds at first like another emo midwest meets punk pop song until you notice it has been built on several levels, not unlike Boys Life was doing on "Departures & Landfalls" starting in a rough way and growing in subtlety. There are also these instants when they move from average style towards something much more original, after 1:43 and until the end.
You can recognize elements of American Football and Appleseed Cast played a little bit too fast but mostly between 2:00 and 2:20, during 20 seconds, what Justin Brown plays at the guitar is much more original and totally bright - maybe the mixed influences of Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine ? -, justifying the credit given to the song. There is an absolute potential underneath Old Pine and it will request a lot of work to make it emerge.
I think "Soon Enough" by Justin Brown alone is already one step up this alley. Of course there is the speed, but from beginning to end, the guitar parts are totally superb, and the rhythmic beat structures strangely remind me of The Blue Nile, but could be related probably to other 80's acts. It makes me think also of Keith Vogelsong's project the The Blue Hour in the way he pushes the emotional approach into intense melodic directions. Once again and even more you have the feeling of a huge aesthetic potential behind a present confusion of genres and a saturation of textures.
Justin Brown should stop caffeine, tend towards a quieter songwriting, forget about cliches and too obvious elements, trust his natural inspiration and focus on on his unexpected and beautiful guitar textures, progressions, and rhythmic twists. The melancholic dimension of his vocals is interesting too and also shows room for progression.
"Soon Enough" and "Dutch Apple Pie" are two addictive songs which contain the promise of many others as they open doors to be explored.