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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Absolutely Kosher

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Pinback really struck a chord with folks on their last album, Blue Screen Life (Ace Fu). Their sublime pop structures, bright home production that far surpassed the computers it was recorded on and the trade-off vocals of core members Rob Crow and Zach Smith brought a smile to the corners of the mouth of anyone who gave it a listen. And for good reason, they were really on to something there, reaching out and grasping the most addictive and melodic edges of rock and pop and tweaking them just enough to maintain interest while still relying on age-old and time-tested conventions. My enjoyment of the band's music was only slightly lessened by seeing them live and I couldn't quite explain why, maybe it was the loss of some of the intimacy that is embedded in their sincere structures. Pinback is hard at work on a new full-length that will be released by Touch and Go sometime in 2004, but in the meantime the reliable Absolutely Kosher has released an EP of new material to sate you until that moment arrives. Crow and Smith also have solo albums in the works, but that is for another review.

"Microtonic Wave" starts out the album with a psyche-guitar intro before launching into trademark Pinback pop. A catchy piano tune warbles along with an admittedly funky bass loping along beneath, ever the important backbone of any Pinback song. Crow's innocent and high voice rises above the fray to intone "Begin transmission, receive transmissionů" and a few minutes later it's all over. "Victorius D" is another bass heavy track with pounding drums, and vocals and guitar following the same infectious melody. The next two tracks are some of the lower points on the EP, but height is all relative here. The title track employs a hip hop beat with very digitally sounding recorded guitars and a "Cha!" vocal refrain is brought back from an interlude between the first and second songs. "B" is a fast paced and slightly uninspired rocker that still sounds better than much of what you will hear this spring. Finally, the opus of the album is the 11 minute long "Grey-Machine" which starts out as staccato string pop and converts to Pinback style chamber pop full of spry pianos somewhere around the five minute mark. 30 minutes on this EP: you get your money's worth.

This EP should make you really excited for the album that seems to keep getting pushed back. Offcell doesn't quite live up the supreme songwriting and arrangement of Blue Screen Life, but it's a step in the same forward moving direction. Pinback are focusing their laser beam of pop in your direction and you better look up and pay some attention.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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