Review: Jacob Slater Shares a Story of Devastating Heartbreak on ‘Pinky, I Love You’

Just as we thought we had got a grasp on Jacob Slater as an artist, he mixes it up again; we’ve already witnessed the refined talents of Cornwall’s adopted rising star through the grungy tones of Dead Pretties and the sharp songwriting of Wunderhorse, but a new eponymous project now reveals an intimate, vulnerable and personal side to the increasingly prolific frontman.

Far from his rock’n’roll roots, the 8-track release ‘Pinky, I Love You’ shows Jacob alone in a room with just a guitar to voice his restrained thoughts. Despite these self-imposed limitations, he is able to direct listeners through vastly scenic tales backdropped by overwhelming heartbreak. This minimalistic approach extracts a potent punch out of every raspy word and hanging note, saying so much with so little and conveying focused and devastating emotion.

Starting with ‘One For the Pigeons’, a sense of vulnerability permeates this EP from the get-go (“I just wanna die with you in my arms tonight”). The initial romantic sentiments are quickly twisted into sombre reflections, though, with ‘I Do’ detailing a craving for appreciation but proving that the experience of finding it can be lonely and disheartening at the best of times.

Absorbing and totally compelling, ‘Dead Submarines’ calls out for help, support, any form of guidance to traverse the storm of loss and abandonment soon explained by the betrayal of lead single ‘Kissin’ Booth’. That pain is shaped into a bullet on ‘Blue Lullabies’ where again a comforting title is juxtaposed against the painful destruction of a dream – a trumpet also gently accompanies this tragedy, the only sound to dare disturb Slater’s self-penned afflictions. Vocal chops are demonstrated in full force before the lesson of letting go quietly ushers in an optimistic ending, admitting, “there’s such a lot of world to see”; for a musician of this calibre just beginning his career, this much is undeniably true.

Isolated from the bravado of broad soundscapes, ‘Pinky, I Love You’ unveils an otherwise riotous talent at his lowest points and completely contrasts his recent offerings – it’s truly hard to believe that these tracks were recorded in tandem with Wunderhorse’s ‘Cub’. If that wisened record was one barelling momentum onward, cutting and rapid, this is instead a sorrowful standstill, involuntarily swinging a blunt and numbing spirit toward the listener when they least expected it.

‘Pinky, I Love You’ is out on August 4th via Communion.

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