Pablo’s Paintings are no stranger to the moody and curious realm of folk music. Writing in a traditional style with their own twist that runs off the beaten track, last week marked the summit of their unique craft in a five-song EP.

It’s aptly named. Sad Folk For Sad Folk is dusted with old-timey themes, wrapped up in an anecdotal package so inherent to the genre. Track one, No One Picks Hitchhikers Up Anymore, marries the art of engaging storytelling with perky acoustics and dreamy harmonies. Its vibrancy rings true to classic folk while pulling the genre into the 21st century with its lyrical sentiments.


Though the record kicks off on such a jolly note, it progresses down a gentler path. Nomad is a lower tempo tune that saunters along in a breezy haze. Prosody between the flowing instrumentation and softly delivered lyrics gives the song a carefree feel, like one would live as a nomad.

The third track, Bide My Time, shows a more versatile side to Pablo’s Paintings. An electrified guitar jangles complex riffs overtop their acoustic rhythm section. The minor tonality brings a sense of mystique further emphasised by old western sounding rattlers, decorated with beautiful crescendo harmonies that build dynamic tension. These elements feel like an ode to the richly diverse history of folk and its many faces.

One of those faces is pure simplicity; the soft sound of a man and his guitar that many imagine when they think of folk. And track four, Bluebird, wears that identity. From the ambient shuffling at the beginning, Bluebird radiates a raw melancholy and tenderness. The duo of guitar and vocals is undemanding by nature, allowing the poignant words so much space to be digested. A faint whistling flickers in the background. It’s a truly enchanting moment in the EP.

With the weight of Bluebird simmering away, the final track brings the record to a light-hearted finish. Off With the Balloons rises and falls in melody like quiet breaths into the night air. It’s delicate with its chordal tonality and passing chromatics that mark significant phrases. For me, this closing tune is a culmination of the Sad Folk For Sad Folk, and it’s just what’s expected.

Pablo’s Paintings have truly outdone themselves with this new EP. It has everything you want from a folk record, and more with the it’s mixed and produced. Whether you’re a fan of “sad folk” or not, or a “sad folk” yourself or not, Sad Folk For Sad Folk is worth the listen. And if you enjoy it, you can catch them in the snug at Hyde Park Book Club on the 13th October for their release party.


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