Pastoral pop sounds particularly perfect in the autumn. Gently strummed acoustic guitars, light chamber-like piano and hushed vocals sound tailor-made for the fall, floating on the gentle breeze like the charcoaled smoke from distant bonfires and fireplaces, perfect for dreaming and remembering, lounging about with loved ones and reading books as a soft rain falls outside the windows.
It's the perfect atmosphere to receive Good Morning, Rocinha, the debut EP from London's The Birthday Letters. It's a reflection on living in London, the uncertainty in England in the wake of Brexit, after spending some time in Cuba. Good Morning, Rochina is named after a movie about a little girl growing up in a favelo in Rio De Janeiro.
The film follows the girl through large swathes of her life and The Birthday Letters takes a similar wide-screen, long form approach to the hope and despair of living in such uncertain times.
The Birthday Letters sets out to set the deep, literary lyricism of Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst to the artful indie pop of The Radio Dept., which they pull off rather successfully. Poetic, metaphorical slice-of-lyrics meet chamber-like arrangements - light, tinkling pianos, swathed in echoes and distant reverb. Good Morning, Rocinha doesn't fall into nostalgic retrophilia, however, being underscored with layers and layers of affected electric guitars and futuristic beats. It creates a perfect equilibrium to really absorb the stories, to fall under Good Morning, Rocinha's.
The Birthday Letters are insanely good songwriters and arrangers, which is masterfully captured in the ambitious home recording. The record sounds entirely pro, which is particularly impressive given that The Birthday Letters master their own stuff as well. With home recordings that sound this good, it's a wonder anyone ever goes to a professional studio!
Of course, not everyone has the patience or attention to detail to pull off a DIY recording of this quality. It's further proof that The Birthday Letters are an incredibly talent, committed project to keep an eye and an ear on. If you're looking for some gentle, thoughtful, autumnal idylls to fall into, check out Good Morning, Rocinha immediately!
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