Pierre Stemmett tracks heartbreak through balladry and house beats in his new album Alas

Port Elizabeth expat and self-driven artist in his own right, Pierre Stemmett just turned his feelings into art in the most self-professed way.

“Alas” comes rough with gut-punching authenticity and a couple of house bangers thrown in there to shake out the melancholy.

It’s no secret this album has been built off a heartbreak. From the warm guitar hooks and silvery refrain of “Hope” – which starts things off on a self-deprecating albeit optimistic note – to the despondent piano chords of “Set My Face On Fire” and it’s guitar-founded counterpart “Coral Baby” – it’s pretty clear this guy’s had his heart ripped out.

He gets quietly vicious (“You Poor Girl”) and bitterly angry (you can’t miss the muffled “fuck this” which ripples through the clockwork textures of “How Could She”).

But just to keep anyone from falling into his own pit of gloom, he’s tossed in a couple of solid gold beats to keep things moving. His longtime collaborator Kearne Dragon hops aboard to rap a few bars (“Respect” and “Hold Your Own”) – while Stammett’s own production takes the cake in the organic percussive drop of “Lost” and the rock-esque beat of “Take”.

In theory it should be a nightmare conglomerate, but in practice it’s an expertly pulled off production that I’ll stand right behind.