It’s Been A While is a collection of singles and obscurities from the Pines, who constitute Pam Berry and Joe Brooker. Pam has the voice of a songbird, as becomes immediately evident on lead track Milk Bar, while some delicate folk style plucking from Joe provides a wistful backing. Alternately sung verses on A Hundred Doors gives a lovely touch to a rather sad song that sounds if it was recorded tucked away in a basement. Forget Me Nots is like some trad folk tune given a Simon & Garfunkel twist, a tinge of echo on the vocals. Chalet again shows how delightful the Pines tunes are, given air to breathe and plenty of space. The bare minimum of music and vocals are used, neither wanting to intrude on the other, its just beautiful. MGM is another lovely winsome duet, another song that sounds beamed in from another more innocent age in the days before amps went up to 11. Please Don’t Get Married is slow skiffle, or heart rending bluegrass, pick your new genre. Static drifts through the air, like a beautiful snowflake in the winter sun. Marie Claire is a good example of how their voices can blend together, trading parts of the song, then harmonising rather Belle & Sebastian like. Aurora, a cover of a The Cat's Miaow song, sounds like an elegy to something, who knows what, but its incredibly wistful. Joe takes the lead on Some Slow Afternoon and makes for a blissful Lilac Time sounding tune. Brand New Life, a Young Marble Giants tune, is a wispy lite thing that is more atmosphere than anything, but works really well. Seven Clubs finds them doing the trad folk thing beautifully again while High Street is a maudlin, harmonica soaked little thing. I See Stars sets Pam’s warbling voice against some gorgeous picking, you can imagine this being sung on a harbour wall in the Mediterranean. A delightful collection.
It’s Been A While is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Pines don't seem to have a website, but there's some info here