If you’ve ever sat quietly adrift in a canoe upon a lake in the early morning hours as the world begins to stir, you know that sounds can take on an otherworldly quality. So it is with the voice of local singer Justine Bowe of photocomfort, singing on her five-track EP of loneliness, heartbreak, and starting anew.
Bowe, an alumnus of Tufts University and North Andover High School, hardly seems old enough to be wearing the scars of lost love, but these songs are hers from the words on up. “I’m painfully empathetic,” she says, sounding barely all of her 21 years. “Conveying a story or message, some sort of perspective [with my lyrics] is important.” With stunning clarity, this up-and-coming Indie folk artist with the pretty, fragile looks of a young Sissy Spacek, sings “20 years old and the passion is gone” on the track “My Mistake.”
With the help of creative partner Mike Moschetto, in whose North Andover studio Bowe has done all of her recording thus far, photocomfort brings us a sound that is rich in both vocals and instrumentals. Bowe attributes her ease with complicated harmonies to having led the 100-voice chorus at North Andover High School and being the section leader in a 200-plus-person gospel choir at Tufts. Additionally, listening to her father—who plays a trumpet every Fourth of July in the Tuftonboro Marching Band in New Hampshire—sing her to sleep at night in the “early years” made an impression.
Bowe recently bought herself a one-way ticket to Minneapolis to sing with friends; given that her voice has the ability to do what church bells can do to an entire town in the dead of winter, it’s likely money well spent. photocomfort.bandcamp.com