Vireo, a Pittsburgh artist/band that makes wistful, blown-out “eco-folk” music, returns with Here Comes The Driftler.
Here Comes The Driftler is a loose, unmastered concept EP (mastered version due out in the fall) about the titular Driftler, a figure that “embodies and transcends” all things winter (see: magical snowfalls, the wholesome cheesiness of the holiday season, Pittsburgh’s endless gray days and the cases of seasonal affective disorder that they cause, etc). The music here feels removed without being lonely; the Driftler may be a solitary figure, but who needs human friends when you’ve got snow, trees, and sky through which to ramble? Bells, rustic banjo, toy piano, and effervescent synths accompany a central acoustic guitar, like an entire band of imaginary friends coming together to jam in a festive, light-strewn cabin. Think early Lord Huron, but faintly Christmasy! Closing track “Drink Pine Needle Tea” is the sprightliest of them all, featuring multilayered, octave-jumping guitar plinks that race alongside fluid synth arpeggios to form a swirling sonic column of good cheer. Vireo leaves us with a simple message: “You could be kind to yourself.” In unsettling times, it’s a worthwhile goal for us all.