I first encountered Painters right before the pandemic – I was gearing up to play a string of shows with my good buddy Alex of Nightmare In Wonderland fame. But disaster struck, and all our plans were pretty much put on the back burner. It really fucking sucked – I, probably like many others, started out 2020 in stellar fashion. I had just turned 30 and I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 31 in June of 2020. I made plans to play and make the best music I possibly could. I wanted to read more, write more, learn to meditate, blah blah blah. But the whole Covid thing sort of stunted my plans, and worst of all has created a sort of longing for the days when playing a shows every week, meeting new people and traveling to small towns to play obscure venues.
One show in particular that was scheduled pre-pandemic included the band Painters, and Covid be damned, we ended up putting on the show anyway, virtually via the event page on Facebook. While EVERY act was amazing in their own way, something about the Painter’s set and my subsequent conversations with members of the band that has left an unforgettable impression with me to say the least. They reached out to me initially about my own set and were beyond friendly, building a connection and efficiently networking with not just a fellow musician, but a fan. I remember being instantly swooned by their song “Friends Forget You” – the chorus in particular, haunting yet beautiful, in a way that can get stuck in your head for weeks.
Ever since that show, I’ve been watching them take about as much advantage as they possibly can from the pandemic, constantly updating their social media and making live videos of older songs and works in progress, led by the bands lead song writers Bryan and Chiara. Their most recent endeavor is their second release and EP Non Linear which shows them further refining their sound instead of straying away from it.
Diving further into their dark surf / post punk sound, listening to Non Linear reminds me of taking a long drive on a warm summer night. There’s something relaxing and peaceful about the record as a whole, and the way it flows is just…. perfect. Each song possess a few specific qualities that keeps the entire album engaging and versatile, such as the instrumental interlude of the song “Peoples Ways” or Bryan’s take on lead vocals on the song “Surf Love”.
Chiara’s vocals are what I can only describe as haunting – she possess a range that is not only impressive, but also effective in creating hooks that are memorable in literally every song they write. And this is perfectly accompanied by Bryan’s use of spacey guitars, synthesizers, and drum machine. My favorite track from the record, which acts as the perfect close to the album, is the song “Lavender” which demonstrates these qualities to the fullest – the song opens with a catchy drum and synth riff, leading into Chiara’s vocals which start low in the verse, only to unpredictably go high for the chorus, and then effectively back again in a manner that can send chills down your spine. Alongside Bryan’s knack for crafting instrumental breaks that making you feel like you’re swimming out in space among an endless sea of stars.
Non Linear is, in my honest opinion, such a strong effort and a good demonstration of a band that everyone should be paying attention to. They are achieving something that I think is the one of the most difficult aspects of being an artist in any medium, which is finding and exploiting your own particular style and using it to stand out from the rest. And putting together a good, cohesive release, whether it be an EP or LP, is an art form, and Painters demonstrate that they know just what they are doing. The only bad thing I could possibly say about it is that, as any great EP should do, it leaves you wanting more. I will definitely be looking forward to the day when I can write about a full length release.