With an EP out right now on Visionquest, another forthcoming on Wolf + Lamb and here on Italian label Life And Death, there's a danger that San Fran trio PillowTalk could be spreading themselves thin. That said, there's enough musicality and invention here to suggest they could whore themselves to even more labels and still come up with the goods.
The brainchild of Ryan Williams, Michael Tello and Sammy D, PillowTalk have soul at their core. Here they shuttle back and forth across associated genres. Lead track "The Come Back" stitches together, Avalanches-style, Northern Soul handclaps and drum fills with Sammy's doo wop vocals before magically shifting forward four decades as an 808 arrives on the scene. Somewhat implausibly, it ends up as a burbling, menacing tech house tune.
Next, twinkling instrumental "Long Lost Friends," with its simple Rhodes keys motifs and banks of congas, is bathed in a Balearic sheen. On the flip (for vinyl buyers, naturally), "Soft "uses Burial-like muted tom toms, a simple three-note analogue synth refrain and some elegant, intricate pads, around which PillowTalk build a melancholic house shuffle with Sammy's double-tracked vocals to the fore.
Life and Death label head, Manfredi Romano, teams up with Tale Of Us for a subtler yet tougher (percussively speaking) reworking of "Soft." It's really rather lovely. A moodier, early hours (digital-only) re-rub of "The Come Back" by Tale Of Us daubs the original with minimal-style keyboard throbs, rumbling bassline and a heads-down groove. In sum, there's a heck of a lot to like here.
Buy PillowTalk - The Come Back EP at
Tracklist: PillowTalk - The Come Back EP A1 The Come Back
A2 Long Lost Friends
B2 Soft (Life & Death Remix)
Digital: The Come Back (Life & Death Remix)