Five long years have passed since we last heard new music from Jesse Pino. However, it has been worth the wait, as Pino’s new EP, Signal Received, shows a remarkable step up from the acoustic singer-songwriter vibe of his previous release.

“It took longer than anticipated,” Jesse says of the recording process. “I recorded the EP with a rad group of friends, but unfortunately, they stepped out before the album was fully completed. So, I had to gather a new group of rad friends who respected the vision and wanted to be a part of the ride.”

Now with a full backing band, the sonic landscape of Pino’s songs cover a wider range than his previous solo efforts. While reminiscent of bands such as Beach Slang and Jimmy Eat World, Signal Received maintains Jesse’s signature sound (just louder) with clever lyrics, melodic arrangements, and a strong pop sensibility.

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If you grew up in the Las Vegas music scene, you probably know Jesse Pino as one of the guitarists from the long-defunct alternative-rock band Left Standing, in which he played alongside brothers Chris and Danny. In 2010, Jesse parted ways with that band to pursue his solo project, and in 2012 he started writing the songs that would eventually become Signal Received, a six-song EP due out February 16.

Though the process took far longer than planned, no amount of setbacks—from lineup changes to delays in the recording process—could keep Pino from releasing the music. It helps when your roommate is recording engineer—and Killers’ tour tech—Matt Breunig. “He’s an incredible engineer, and he recorded practically everything of Left Standing, so when I [started] doing the solo stuff, I was like, ‘I want you to record my sh*t.’ He actually had a spare room in his house, and I took it for the sole reason of making him record my album,” he laughs. The downside? “He’s constantly on tour,” the 33-year-old Pino says.

Working around Breunig’s schedule might have pushed back the completion of Signal Received, but listening to the finished product, it sounds like it was worth the wait. Out digitally and on cassette—the latter is cost-effective and also fits Pino’s retro-leaning sound—the EP is rooted in emotional themes like love and heartbreak, and run through a ’90s pop-punk filter. “[The songs] are always based off something that’s really happened to me,” Pino says. “ I just kept pulling from that place.”

Take “Evergreen,” for example, a track Pino debuted at the Dam Short Film Festival over the weekend. “All I want to do is stay/Tell me, do you feel the same?” Pino repeats atop chugging, Jimmy Eat World-esque guitar riffs. And while he’s excited for the album’s release party this Friday at Vinyl inside the Hard Rock Hotel, he’s already putting together ideas for a full-length follow-up. “I want to see what can happen,” he says. “These six songs gave me a good feeling of what direction I want to take, but I definitely have a lot of random influences that are challenging me.”

-Leslie Ventura, Las Vegas Weekly