Roo Panes has just released his highly anticipated 5 track EP Pacific and, boy, is this an exciting time. Panes’ last release was his stunning 2018 album Quiet Man, with a deluxe version of the same title in 2019. I think it’s safe to say fans have been eagerly awaiting this EP for a while.
I first discovered Panes through his well known 2014 single ‘Tiger Striped Sky’, the lead track from his first LP Little Giant, and since then, I’ve been hooked. Folk was never a genre that I took much interest in but after listening to a couple of his tracks, I stumbled across a whole new world of music that I’d never encountered before. If you haven’t listened to much folk music before, Roo Panes is a great artist to start with!
Each song tells a story of its own, all of them as beautiful and calming as the next. It really has come at the perfect time for everyone who is struggling at the moment. This EP will bring you peace and contentment in these hard times. So, without further ado, let’s get into these heartwarming tracks!
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‘Listen To The One Who Loves You’ is first up, and what an introduction this is. It was released as the first promo single for the EP and it’s been on replay ever since. Every time this song graces the eardrums, my love for it gets stronger. (Prepare yourself for a lot of gushing!) ‘Listen To The One Who Loves You’ is truly a cinematic piece of art, building from a lone guitar and Panes’ soft voice, all the way to a beautiful swell of strings and drums that reach utter perfection. There’s always been a romantic feel to Panes’ songs that listeners adore. Every ‘darling’ has such raw emotion to it, encouraged by echoing backing vocals that add even more warmth and passion to the already vivid and atmospheric ambience.
There are so many messages present in this song, but It seems that ‘Listen To The One Who Loves You’ is a love song for the lost. When you don’t know where to turn and everybody is trying to push, pull, and control you, it can be hard to distinguish between who really cares and who doesn’t at all. This is exactly what this track details so well. Panes suggest that you really do need to find that one person and listen to the one who loves you.
The lyric video for ‘Listen To The One Who Loves You’ was released on the 8th, the same day as the single. It repeatedly shows two scenes, both equally as lonely and isolated as the other. Yet It is near impossible to tear your eyes away from the screen. Sometimes simplistic shots are all you need when the music already says so much. And trust me, the music says a lot.
Up next is the fabulous title track ‘Pacific’. Once again we begin with those deep backing vocals that are to die for. The instrumentals have a more haunting atmosphere than the first track, with elongated chords in a minor key feeling heavy on the heart coupled with those equally as eerie vocals. Panes is singing of a love that has drifted away and he no longer knows how to be himself without them. He repeats at the end of the track the lyrics “And the feeling of being at one, of being at one” while the music picks up for the last minute of the song. The strings take centre stage here, violins playing a series of sharp staccato notes with the cellos providing that deep bass throughout. The music feels like a weight on your chest and that is how you are supposed to feel hearing this song. When you lose what became the other half of you, how do you carry on?
Moving on from probably the saddest track of the EP, we are then met with the gorgeous ‘Colour In Your Heart’ next. It stands out from this EP for so many reasons. Panes commented on his Instagram saying “I wrote colour in your heart to cheer a friend up, and I hope it cheers some of you too in these uncertain times”. This sums up ‘Colour In Your Heart’ pretty well. This is a song that will make you feel happy and, more importantly, hopeful. Starting off with a more pop-focused and sampled instrumental, the signature acoustic guitar picking is not included in this song. I think this was a good move for adding more range and diversity to the tracklist and only shows off Panes’ voice even more. He tells us
“If it’s gonna rain, then we’ll jump in puddles/ If you look a little deeper, then a puddle can hold the stars”.
He is reminding us here that no matter how low you feel or how hard life becomes, joy will find you again and in the most unexpected ways. This is a feel-good song that makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy, once again making this EP the perfect anxiety reliever.
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Next, we have my personal favourite from the EP, ‘The Sun Will Rise Over The Year’. We now return back to what we know and love from Roo Panes: the captivating guitar, the echoing vocals – we get it all back for this one. However, about a minute in, something begins to feel different with this track compared to the others. The drums pick up, the bridge is building tempo slowly and then we are hit with the lyrics “you’re gonna be alright” and the song explodes with vibrancy and life. Layers of stunning electric guitar play a spirit-lifting riff over the now fast-paced drum beat. It feels as if the sun has finally come out and is shining down. This song gives listeners hope and the feeling that they can conquer anything. It’s reminiscent of so many cliche-coming-of-age movies (but in a good way). When the main character has finally found who they are and are running towards their future, you can bet this song would be playing in the background.
Lastly, the EP is completed with the track ‘There’s A Place’. Can you believe we are at the end already?. When talking about the track before its release on Instagram, Panes commented
“This is a story song from when I flew home from South Africa last year – a song to sit in, with headphones and a tea, and .. make sure you listen until the end x”.
A delicate riff, similar to that of the song ‘Here Comes The Sun’ starts off the track soft and light-hearted. Then, it all changes. Strumming picks up halfway through, quickening the pace and building the vivid atmosphere. Then it drops back to a quieter volume, reduced to Panes’ humming and his gentle guitar picking. A simple, yet beautiful way to end the EP.
You think the song is over right? Think again. Panes was right when he said to wait for the end. The strumming begins to grow increasingly louder and louder until these heartbreaking strings ring out onto the track, ascending in key into a beautiful fermata. Then once again it dies out into that all familiar picking, Panes finishing with the lyrics “And there could be a place for us to find/ There could be a place”. He is suggesting here that if you try hard enough to hold on to the person who means the most, a lost love may return and you both could find a place in life where you can stay together.
Your heart will ache when listening to this jewel of an EP in the best possible way. You will feel sorrow but also exhilaration. Your heart will beat so fast but melt at the same time. If you want to feel all the feels in just 5 songs, then Roo Panes new EP Pacific is the one for you!
Check it out now!