The searching and sadness of both looking back and looking forward at one’s life are some of the central themes filtered through guitar-churning Britpop and expansive, yearning choruses on Holy Pinto‘s second album, Adult (coming out March 8th). Singer-Songwriter Aymen Saleh, an Englishman now living in Wisconsin, taps into nostalgia and the universal fears of growing older with a steady, endearing confidence that flesh out the eight ebullient musical trifles on the album.
Right off the bat on “Adult #1”, Salmeh establishes a sense of loneliness and feeling out of place, as he regrets that he “waste(s) my time thinking of people” who don’t reciprocate, and admits to feeling shame for becoming an adult. He further examines some of these feelings on the heavier “Daisychain”, as he goes between fondly remember being young and feeling a disconnection with his own emotions (“I loved you but I couldn’t feel it”). The track is reminiscent of early Blur, but with more heart and an effervescent ending that shows Salmeh to be a budding pop savant.
Holy Pinto‘s true promise is best exemplified on “Gold Leaf”, where he seamlessly blends humor and romance with an instantly memorable chorus. Lyrics like “I’ll buy you flowers from a petrol station, just to prove that I miss your touch” have an authenticity and innocence to them that’s easy to relate to, and the melodies are so joyful you’d have to be dead inside not to enjoy it.
Salmeh is open about his love of early 90’s emo bands (ie: The Promise Ring), and their influence is felt throughout Adult. The eloquent singing against the chugging guitars of ‘Salt” or the melancholy chorus on “King” may remind people of early Jimmy Eat World, while the jazz rock intro and dynamics on “Brother” reveals some edgier, more experimental tendencies akin to Sunny Day Real Estate. While not as strong as the other tracks on the album, it’s an admirable grasp at stretching his composition skills.
Another album highlight is “You Are My Seatbelt”. Built upon waltz time signatures, the song layers guitars and crashing drums to build into a huge, heartbreaking chorus, with Salmeh wishing to never see his lover again; “That’s how I want this to end”. With this goodbye behind him, Holy Pinto moves to the final track, where he is ready to also say goodbye to the shame he spoke of at the album’s start. Though still traced with sadness, there’s a comforting aura to “Adult #2”, and signs of hope for the future to come. It’s the kind of revelation we all need in life, as we gather strength to face each new day.
Adult is the kind of album that will be embraced by college-aged kids who are trying to figure out their lives, as well as anyone with an ounce of nostalgia for those formative years. Full of bright melodies and sugary hooks, it’s an album that will go down very easily.
The full album drops on March 8th. Check out pre-release tracks “Daisychain” and “Gold Leaf” below: