Album Review
by SashaS

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Pajo: gentle sonic flow as mellow as...
Pajo: 'Pajo'
Pajo: quiet done curiously

There is more than reasonable doubt that one would hear a quieter, more lo-fi but not a wallpaper album this year than Pajo’s self-titled release.

David Pajo’s stints with Slint and Tortoise - as well as solo outings under the Papa M and Aerial M guises - should have prepared him better for the first album under his own name. As it turns out it is somewhat vague offering that hovers between differing identities in a inconspicuous manner.

Recorded on a laptop, this is one-man journey that spreads from whispered vocals of ‘High Lonesome Moan’ that, combined with gentle guitar-picking, manages to counter the title’s gloom with a summery touch. The same applies to ‘Baby Please Come Home’, whilst the concluding Brian Eno-esque ‘Francie’ should satisfy all the man’s offbeat fans.

Pajo makes songs as short as just over 90 seconds - the opening ‘Oh No No’ - or as long as nearly six minutes of ‘Baby Please Come Home’. In between is folk-psychedelic ‘Ten More Days’, ‘Manson Twins’ is so tender as if kissed by a breeze; ‘Icicles’ and ‘Let Me Breed’, for instance, are so dreamy and otherworldly I felt I was abroad ‘Enterprise’ looking into space!

It could be argued that this is a nocturnal album, the period where imagery of failed love, creative doubt and feeling of life’s unfilled potential loom large and tend to weigh down a person’s spirit. Still, these are warm sounds that rely on simplicity and minimalist accompaniment to convey its message, a combo of soft delivery and thunderous thoughts behind it.

Mr Pajo is an unassuming figure but the guy’s got lineage of writing the book on instrumental rock. Usually snaking through the expectations and easy classifications, Pajo’s songs take meandering route between legacy of deeper tradition and contemporary standards.

Relocating to his native Louisville coincided with a growing fascination for country music, though Pajo’s spin was as trad as Bourbon mixed with acid. And, in a sense, this sounds like modern versions of field recordings: these tracks are full of authentic insect calls, frail amp fuzz, ansaphone messages and Simpsons transmissions. Adding his own singing to the mix, Pajo found a voice and instrument as affecting as the many others he’s used down the years.

When the man hits the stride it really is something devastating with the truly amazing ambience… ‘Pajo’ is a decent album and, although trailing behind other American songwriters of his generation, there are few gems that indicate the man certainly has talent to progress and mature quite a bit more.


Pajo’s album ‘Pajo’ is released 27 June 2005 by Domino