Review: Split Screens – Split Screens EP

As an indicator of what to expect from his first proper release, San Francisco’s Jesse Cafiero recently revealed some of his favourite records. Amongst Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ and The Congos’ ‘Heart Of The Congos’, the biggest clue to what his own music sounds like would be Beck’s ‘Sea Change’; the record where the hitherto unflappable American finally revealed his heart on a beautifully sad and heartfelt set of songs. Cafiero has just five tracks at his disposal for his new Split Screens moniker but he certainly makes light work of emulating that record’s greatness, as well as drawing favourable comparisons to others.

Split Screens EP Cover

‘Born’ immediately evokes languid sunny afternoons via its relaxed ambient melody and soothing harmonies. It would be too dismissive to call it a Sea And The Cake pastiche but the track could have easily been made from the same session which produced their wonderful ‘Oui’ album. ‘When It Comes To You’, meanwhile, consists of little more than vocals and a reverb-soaked guitar and sounds simply serene. ‘Hovering’ adds to the air of rarefied romance as Cafiero seems to be remembering a lost love who is “still here in this room” but ‘Paying The Price’ casts a much darker cloud over the breezy atmosphere with Cafiero’s haunted tones and the inescapable feeling that the instruments are closing in on the listener; creating a claustrophobic effect. Infact, by the EP’s finale, ‘Deep Down’, it’s noticeable that the five tracks have taken on a steadily busier and more experimental path and it seems like you’ve been listening for a lot longer than twenty three minutes, which is a good thing in this case.

‘Split Screens EP’ is definitely one of those mini albums which leaves you thirsting for an album’s worth of material from the artist. From its crisp drums to its deceptive production – light and relaxed on the surface but characterised by great depth – Cafiero’s debut is something which Beck himself would be rather pleased with.

Web Sites:
Bandcamp Stream of Split Screens EP

Further Listening:
The Sea And Cake, The High Highs, Beck


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