David Pajo, known prior to this release primarily as an instrumentalist in bands like Slint and Tortoise as well as in his many M-related solo projects, finally steps up to the mic with Papa M Sings. And what comes out sounds a lot like Will Oldham, which shouldn't be such a surprise given that Pajo has played on numerous Oldham recordings over the years. The two Louisville natives are obviously cut from the same vocal cloth, though Pajo is much more restrained and, at times, flat. Opting for acoustic guitars throughout most of this six-song EP, Pajo throws in an occasional banjo, slide guitar, or keyboard with the results sounding something like a bunch of old buddies sitting on a front porch playing some tunes and throwing back a few beers. Lyrically, Pajo keeps things lighthearted through the first half, getting half-hearted digs in on an old girlfriend ("Jaded Lover") and his record label ("Pissing in the Wind"), saving his somber and reflective moments for the second half, with songs that speak of love and longing in more serious terms ("I of Mine" and "True Love"), and ending with a full-fledged country singalong, "London Homesick Blues." Overall, Papa M Sings serves as a good counterpoint to the more detached and cerebrally intensive work Pajo usual offers up, like opening a window in a stuffy laboratory.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey