EP REVIEW: Picturesque – IYKYK
Hailing from Kentucky, rock band Picturesque are releasing their newly anticipated EP, IYKYK, three years after their 2020 album, Do You Feel O.K?. Although created during the pandemic, IYKYK is ambitious.
With Kyle Hollis on vocals, Zach Williamson and Dylan Forrester on guitars and Jordan McGreenway on bass, the quartet are not afraid to change their sound. IYKYK is different from their previous two albums, and fans will notice that this EP is more experimental – Picturesque embeds other musical tropes in completely opposite genres.
Kicking off with Strange Habits, Picturesque don’t shy away from blending elements of pop, hip-hop and electronic music. Opening with wailing guitars, Williamson and Forrester set up the sombre tone of the song. When the chorus hits, both guitars drop and expose Hollis’ perpetuation of vulnerability. Hollis’ punchy, melodic singing carries the tune with minimal bass and drums to carry out the chorus. This song is a testament to his vocal talent. That seems very fitting for the song title, as stripping down a chorus to show Picturesque has is indeed a Strange Habit. Furthermore, Hollis controls his vibrato as he sings “why I am this way,” further solidifying the feeling of confusion.
However, the most interesting song on the EP is Hopeless. Starting off with what sounds like an overplayed vinyl of a baroque harpsichord, it then launches into the distinct hip-hop sound with synths beats and guitars associated with the post-hardcore genre. This song, in particular, retains part of what fans are used to, whilst also expressing their desire to carve their own path and grow as a band, despite the start of the song being a little random.
Known for telling specific stories with their lyrics and encoding hidden meanings into songs, Hopeless does not disappoint. The song deals with themes of feeling stuck in life on a multitude of levels. Yet, Williamson revealed that this song is very personal to Hollis. The lyrics take inspiration from Hollis’ own trauma as a child and “being stuck in this kind of rundown house in southern Arkansas.”
Closing the EP, Picturesque end with Dance With The Devil. The opening to the song is a nod to the pop influence as it is reminiscent of Howlin’ for You by The Black Keys, before modulating into a post-hardcore rock style, similar to Issues. However, Hollis chooses to reject the high-energy element of post-hardcore rock by singing about a dark subject matter. Hollis once again is back with his metaphors as he sings “dance with the devil,” thus not imposing any meaning onto the song. With that being said, this song follows the storytelling elements that the band is known for and within this EP, is a fitting conclusion.
Although the pandemic may have devastated live music, it gave Picturesque the perfect opportunity to create an EP that shows they are multifaceted. By blending different elements of genre, they evolve from being a Warped Tour band to something more. They are not constrained by post-hardcore, but rather a pioneer in what could be post-post-hardcore in the next few years.
Standout Tracks: Strange Habits, Break It All, Watterson West
For Fans Of: Issues, Sleeping With Sirens, Holding Absence
Written by: Jo Lisney