Music

Pipas: Sorry Love

A love letter, an afternoon at the cinema, a dream: music built from scraps of memory.


Pipas

Sorry Love

Label: Long Lost Cousin
US Release Date: 2006-09-01
UK Release Date: 2006-09-01
iTunes affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Sorry Love is the sort of album critics like to refer to as slight or lacking in substance. It's a concise 23 minutes long, and it consists of breezy pop songs created by two people with just a handful of instruments: keyboard, guitars, a drum machine. Lupe Nunez-Fernandez sings in a whisper, like she's about to float away, or disappear into the shadows. Her bandmate, Mark Powell, sometimes sings as well, usually in the background, sounding even more hesitant, like he's peeking in from those same shadows. Their songs are short, usually around the two-minute mark. The general demeanor of the music is soft, quiet, light. These are all reasons to dismiss the album as lacking in significance, right? But the thing is, Pipas sounds like no other band in existence. Their style is absolutely their own. And the "unfinished," "slight" aspects of it are central to its charm.

Charm is a good word here. Style, too. There's an intimacy to the songs themselves: love songs, lonely-day songs, goodbye songs. The cover art appears to be a painting on an envelope, and that's appropriate. All of these songs feel like letters, sent or unsent. They also remind me of films: small films about people and places, where those people and places stick with you forever.

In particular I often get a serious French New Wave vibe from Pipas. Maybe it's because in the past some of their songs have referenced world cinema overtly (a 7" single was cleverly titled "A Short Film About Sleeping"); maybe it's a certain transcontinental air (the duo is currently based in London and New York City, met in Philadelphia, and sometimes sing in Spanish); maybe it's the general fashionableness of their aesthetic, musically and in terms of cover art design; maybe it's the love struck, freewheeling, deep-thinking characters, whose perspective the songs seem to take. In any case, I often enjoy thinking of their recordings like a musical version of Band of Outsiders: youthful and playful, a bit reckless (though quietly so), and with a solid foundation of melancholy.

Somewhere beneath the surface of Sorry Love, both a river of tears and a dance party are waiting to break out. The latter side of their music is more pronounced here than ever, with songs like "Riff Raff" and "Yrrkdbk" possessing rhythms that gently beckon you to dance. But there's also the persistent sense that the members of Pipas are playing this music in a quiet, hidden room somewhere. Singing secrets into the walls, perhaps, like Tony Leung in In the Mood for Love.

This is solitary music, and yet the melodies themselves are universal. Pipas' tunes are incessantly fetching, even when they're presented shyly, as they usually are. Listen to "Long Songs"; it's the shy twin sibling of a global radio hit, number one with a bullet.

The closing song ("Sorry Love"), the longest song here by half, carries inside it the echo of a mad dance party. Its sounds are gently pounding the floor, creating a never-ending spiral of unleashed energy. And at the same time the song is careful, quiet, soft, patient. Those dual personalities balance themselves out wonderfully. This music is "pop," in several senses of the word.

7

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.