Josie Boivin, aka MUNYA, has one of those rare voices in pop music as it is both joyful and lugubrious in equal measure. The grain of her voice can be seen as more significant than the words she sings as it contains a lilting quality which can be read as offering a sense of despair, yet some degree of hope and optimism remain. Sustained vocal notes regularly descend a semi-tone to further this sense of disquiet, revealing a deeper emotional sense which is perhaps masked behind the shimmering dream pop soundscapes of the music.

On the surface, the three tracks that make up the Blue Pine EP share the same bright pop sensibilities with a tinge of nostalgia, yet dig deeper, and there are personal wounds and degrees of vulnerability on display here. Boivin’s songs under her stage name of MUNYA are performed in either French or English, and this EP contains her first recorded song which switches between the two linguistic codes in the same song. Themes of longing and desire abound, as do notions of escapism and release, and it is in the use of these different languages that MUNYA’s identity is at turns revealed and concealed to the listener.

The EP’s title track is up first, and ‘Blue Pine’ swells and gently sways in the same manner that Black Moth Super Rainbow or Beach House songs do. The track centres on lo-fi instrumentation including a basic programmed beat and duelling synth lines. These offer an air of mild tension before the vocals begin with extended notes which sound simultaneously in agony and ecstasy. MUNYA uses the higher end of her vocal register on this track which brings with it a sense of childlike vulnerability, a naïve openness to the world around her. The song has a delightful hook in the chorus and although it is difficult to make out what words are being sung, the melody drags you in to what feels like a sorrowful and soulful place.

‘Benjamin’ follows and is a straight-up love song, where MUNYA opines that “Everything I dream of/ Is you and me,” before switching to French to declare how she wishes her lover would tell her she is beautiful when he calls her in the evening. The music begins with a percussive beat before swirly and chiming pseudo-Cocteau Twins guitars come into play which bring a pensive, possibly even downbeat, element to the track which creates a contrast to the simplistic and overly superficial lyrics. The bassline adds an element of funk to proceedings and it is in these clashes of genre that MUNYA could all too easily fall flat on her face, yet she combines all of these factors expertly to produce a track which is both beguiling and bellicose.

There is an 80s feel to the EP’s last track, ‘It’s All About You’ which is all R’n’B funkiness behind a wall of shoegaze-lite reverb and delay. Again, Boivin is showing her ability to use her influences whilst not relying on the templates from which they came. This hybrid approach to songwriting more often than not fails, yet it works perfectly here.

The Blue Pine EP is named after a fictional mountain in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and perhaps here MUNYA is putting herself forward for a gig at The Roadhouse, a tactic which might just work. Blue Pine Mountain, as everyone surely remembers from the very easy to follow and straightforward narrative developments in Twin Peaks, contains a portal to the Fireman’s home and was also the focal point to Dale Cooper’s attempts to save Laura Palmer when he transported her back to February 23rd, 1989. There is, however, a superficial breeziness to this collection of songs which is not in keeping with the occurrences and aesthetic tone in Lynch’s masterful televisual feast. Under the surface there lies a darker, murkier world which MUNYA touches on with her tales of unrequited love, lack of fulfilment and the need for another to save her.

There is an eeriness here, both in terms of the lyrical themes and the tone and pace of the music, which could get lost on first hearing and this is more readily where a comparison to Lynch’s work can be made as the macabre underbelly of society sits all too closely with the shiny superficiality of late capitalist idealism.

MUNYA has released a number of EPs to date, but this is by far the strongest collection of songs she has packaged together which bodes well for an impending debut album.