Jacopo Pausa 2019
Brescian artist brings on a tight-but-loose debut album to flesh out observations in vibrant sound.
Hailing from Lombardy, Jacopo Pausa might be expected to demonstrate a certain reserve – as opposed to overall Italian expressiveness – yet the 21-year-old songwriter whose guitar playing is firmly rooted in the sultans of swing school of twang, so there’s a lot of passion on these tracks: a document of his existential turmoil. If such an approach colors the resulting tunes darkly, their unhurried flow is comforting and hypnotic enough to chase away any sliver of disturbance Pausa’s lyrics create, and while Jacomo’s detachment has deliberate coldness smeared all over his delivery, it’s the state every listener could relate to.
Running across the broad spectrum of feelings which lie between the sparse, wide-eyed “How Good The World Is” – where riffs are warm and harmonies fresh – and the soothing mother-son duet of “Mad World” and finding footing along the way, the album’s songs, especially its shimmering title track, a mini-epic crowned with a searing solo, wrap themselves around one’s ears quite anxiously. Still, the six-string lines that drive “Wild North” seem celestially molten, rendering the artist as a familiar stranger – aloof, if alluring – but the sense of urgency that fills “That’s Not Easy” can upend this penumbral serenity.
By letting his strum to the fore Pausa is also able to go down to earth, so the frivolous “Humble Girl” or equally country-esque “Memories” should come as no surprise, with a shift from organ to piano and fleeting licks that pour light into the gloom. Sure, the rumble of “Underwear” will shock the romantically inclined ear, yet rockabilly must be most welcome here – without contrast, the family-gathering detail in “In The Backyard” may look dull. It doesn’t, though, and neither does the entire record. A solid start for the artist who came to stay.