While his song lyrics suggest intimacy and solo reflection, singer/songwriter Pinewood’s vast relations within the human spirit are showcased to all. Sounding as bountiful as nature, the four tunes on Pinewood’s EP All Things With Symmetry, connect from the get-go. From trickling guitar riffs to snyth beds, All Things With Symmetry is top-to-bottom a remarkable effort.
Pinewood is the recording name of Georgia’s Sam Kempe. Though born and raised in Athens, Georgia, the 27-year-old moved to Atlanta to break away from playing in other bands (bass) and start fresh. One has to suspect he finally found his musical voice as a solo artist. His journey is not specifically mentioned, rather inferred in All Things With Symmetry.
“Riverbank” is the first track and it more than sets the tone for an incredible listening experience. I must confess that this is my favorite of the pack, but it was a tough call. “Riverbank” has this creek-like percussion sound, almost like the sound of a toad. Then there’s this click-like sound that could be from a June bug or cicada. The vocal mix is below the music base, including a plucky guitar riff. Pinewood does a great job of making this feel like bluegrass with modern rock pop. “Tangled up in fireflies” he sings, followed up by the line “things we thank we’ll never know.” I felt like his unknowing, his questioning gets brought up again in other songs. I enjoyed the imagery he created with this whole vibe, this aptly-named song. I went there as a listener, I felt like I was sitting next to him on the river’s bank. Outside, we took our time looking at the sky, watching the river pass us by. He creates that world in this song and I didn’t want that world to end; I wanted to press pause forever.
“Constellations” possesses a dreamy, cool, dark blue synth tone. The song does a great job of making the listener feel like it’s nighttime. Again, the folky guitar – perhaps banjo – is fused with electric pulses and a magnitude of sounds unbeknownst to the bluegrass world. The lyric that keeps popping up is “understand”. I loved how this song makes the listener feel small amongst a vast universe, that uncertainty put to song.
“Onward” is moving, to say the least. The music bed sweeps the listener and is one of those songs that sets a day’s tone. Finally, “All Things With Symmetry” is quite somber. Yet, hopeful. Pinewood sings, “we don’t know…if there is any truth to all of what we hear”. Timely, to say the least. While this song might feel brooding at times, the orchestration and music bed that Pinewood delivers is vast and triggers immediate reactions. Loneliness, despair are just a few emotions Pinewood reveals in the title track. I think as he’s continuing his search, whether that be answers, love or even artistic recognition, “All Things With Symmetry” is smartly placed at the end. It gives the listener a final moment, a lasting impression of an artist that bears his soul.
by Bethany Page