Psych-folk singer-songwriter Grant Pavol announced his new EP, Reflections, out October 8 via Shamir’s Accidental Popstar Records. Accompanying the news is a brand new single + video for “Bright Skies,” a sanguine collage of finger-picked acoustic guitars, rustling drums, and Grant’s roseate lyrics. “This was my attempt to write a happy song,” he says. “So much of this EP is about pretty unpleasant emotions, so I wanted to include a positive, uplifting one; a sorta ‘you got this’ anthem.” In combination with the vulnerability in his vocals and the honest sincerity in his songwriting, Grant serves us a sonic surrealist dream throughout the entire EP; wrapping you up with his words, bringing you his world.
Energized by his hometown of Philadelphia and influenced by surrendering to time, Reflections is aptly titled. Like looking out across a river in a melancholy mood, or gazing into a window where you only end up seeing yourself, Pavol delivers sophisticated psychedelic folk that is expertly layered with experimental electronic production. “I wanted the whole thing to feel like a pop record as heard in a dream, to be music which hits in the same way as John Ashbery’s poetry or David Lynch’s films,” he explains. “Everything is languid and moves like a gentle river. I wanted the EP to carry you.”
With a focus on his impressionistic writing, Grant is more concerned with the sound of syllables and putting the auditory aspect of his words ahead of their dictionary meaning. An avid reader and poet, it’s no surprise that two separate tracks (“Beckett” and “Pachyderm”) reference mid-century absurdist writing. Pavol plays loose and free in his artistic work, never taking himself too seriously. Making faces at himself in an echo chamber of mirrors, reflecting on unpleasant emotions without ruminating, all while remaining crisp in his production. Says Grant, “It feels like a project which has a consistent and defined creative impulse behind it, and I’m quite proud of that.”
Wise beyond his years, the born-and-raised Philly artist grew up in the thriving DIY scene with a creative family, which allowed him to start going to shows at a young age. Inspired by the likes of Nick Drake & Arthur Russell, Grant Pavol follows in a tradition of singer-songwriters— dedicated to his craft at an early-age— teaching himself guitar as a tender teenager. Pavol shared his debut EP, titled Okay, in the spring of 2019 as Accidental Popstar Records’ first release, after befriending label founder/multi-hyphenate Shamir Bailey at shows in basements and backyards. What then followed was his stunning solo debut LP album About A Year, released in the fall of 2020.