Music Review: Things We Say In Love EP by Pattern Pusher

Words by: Mitty James
Photos by: Caityn Ebsworthy

What if I told you that behind the closed doors of a former music academy, a group of visionary educators were quietly honing their craft as musicians? Pattern Pusher, once mentors to aspiring artists like myself, continue to defy expectations and command attention. But can their latest EP, Things We Say In Love, live up to the hype generated by their electrifying live performance at the BBC Introducing South West Showcase in February? 

As a former student of Exeter’s Academy of Music and Sound, where Pattern Pusher once roamed the halls as esteemed staff, their music feels like a reunion with old friends. Their impact on the Exeter music scene is undoubtedly but not unprecedented. Being a music teacher myself, I would argue that it is their background in music education that allows them to consistently share their vision with us so succinctly. It feels as though we, the listeners, briefly become the students, as they teach us through song about the Things We Say In Love.

The EP opens with Things We Say In Love, a strong track whose confident rhythm and catchy hook leads you through an introspective journey. You would be forgiven for thinking this opener is an upbeat track with elements of funk, but Ben Green’s percussive baselines disguise the true meaning of the track. The lyrics hide a painful tale of desperation, wistfulness and unspoken longing, written during what the band described as a “really special session.” This desire for retrospective self-reflection juxtaposes beautifully with the up-tempo and captivating melody, making it an excellent title track that sets the nostalgic tone of the EP. 

The Hills bookends with an atmospheric and evocative motif, offering insight into Alex Johnstone’s ability to turn emotions into a soft and enticing keyboard melody. This motif repeats throughout the track in stripped-back sections, allowing space for unwinding between the beautiful vocalisations. The production is sensitive and present, with Ben Green’s experience shining through without overshadowing the instrumentation. Inserted samples solidify this track’s place in the EP, guiding transitions from one high-energy tune to another. 

Edge of the World is a standout track that translates Pattern Pusher’s live energy beautifully. It is infectious, and whilst slotting perfectly in place in Things We Say In Love, it stands alone as a prime example of their ability to break musical boundaries. Bright, catchy, and incredibly energetic, it maintains a punchy pace without overwhelming the listener. The lyrics cut through the indie melody and whistle-driven hook much like Green’s bass like a shark fin through the crowd of the BBC Introducing South West Showcase. Benjamin Conibear’s mastery of percussion paves the way for a strong and up-tempo performance, with the production embracing the live sound that gives Edge of the World its incredible vibrancy. 

The EP concludes with their recent single Hotel Room, a contemplative and sophisticated song that offers insight into lead singer and keyboard player Alex Johnstone’s moving diary. Dealing with grief with touching sensitivity, it shares Johnstone’s feelings of loss with the passing of his father. The metaphor of the hotel encompasses feelings of emptiness, while the sentimentality in his vocals is profoundly moving. The most notable element of Hotel Room however is the lyrics, evoking a wave of childhood nostalgia that crashes into the adulthood of the singer, reviving a sense of longing. This emotive writing is beautifully underpinned by the band’s intuitive instrumentation, making it a thoughtful ending to the EP. 

Fans of Alvvays will find a similar catchy nostalgia in tracks like Things We Say in Love and Edge of the World, while The Hills leans toward the sounds of Beach House. The raw emotion of Hotel Room will resonate with fans of The Walters and Rex Orange County. Pattern Pusher showcase an incredible range with this EP, crafting emotionally resonant music that transcends genre boundaries. Their wide appeal has consistently drawn audiences throughout the South West, and Things We Say In Love is no exception. 

Pattern Pusher’s latest EP, Things We Say In Love, is a testament to their evolution as musicians, storytellers, and individuals. With a deep emotional range and masterful musicality, they’ve crafted a unique sound that resonates deeply with listeners.

Things We Say In Love is available to listen to now on all streaming platforms.