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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Pinback
Summer in Abaddon
Touch & Go Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I have to admit right off that I initially got it my head that this album was entitled Summer in Abandon and that the name stuck with me throughout my analysis of it. To be upfront, I wasn't all that thrilled about taking on a Pinback release; they're one of those bands that you either love or hate but who don't really do anything extreme. Know what I mean? There are bands like Trail of Dead or Cancer Conspiracy that go out on a limb and do their thing live and there are bands like Joan of Arc or Bright Eyes that go out and do their thing in the studio and people either love them or hate them, no room for middle ground. Pinback, to me, are the epitome of middle ground. They write good, solid indie/pop/rock songs with a fine pedigree and solid, respectable results. But they're also fairly harmless when it comes to shock value. You pretty much know what you're getting into with this band and it is never quicksand or glass shards. More like a nice shag carpet.

Back to my misconception of the title. I kind of made a joke to myself that perhaps, with this their first album for Touch and Go and their first proper long player since 2001's completely blahzee Blue Screen Life, Pinback had finally abandoned any grandiose plans for revolutionizing anyone and just settled into their little Pond or American Analog Set brand of laundry room soundtrack music. Although I was wrong about the title I was correct about Pinback's maturation into their own skin.

Whereas it seemed as if on previous outings they were trying desperately to be some sort of San Diegan, chilled out version of Yo La Tengo or something, on Summer in Abaddon the duo of Armistead Burwell Smith IV (major bonus points to Smith's parents for christening him with such a name!) and Rob Crow seem to have finally stopped giving a shit about jumping around from indie label to indie label, touring around to play shitty bars across the street from the arena where Death Cab For Cutie was playing and whatever else kind of bullhockey fledgling underground pop bands thing about and simply sat down and recorded a great record. While the collective weight of Summer in Abaddon is much more substantial than all of their lackluster back catalog combined, it will no doubt surprise most to find that Pinback still sounds like Pinback. Their great departure is, in truth, a great coming home. The duo has settled into their own skin and crafted an album full of standout songs, as opposed to their previous albums full of forgettable songs sprinkled with standout moments. Beginning with the opener "Non-Photo Blue" and continuing right on through the closing "AFK" the album is stacked with three- and four-minute tracks that distill all of the poignant dissonance of their past into one potent concentrate.

Okay, so "AFK" is over five minutes long. I lied about that. But everything else is legit. Take everything great that anyone has ever said about Pinback, subtract their inconsistencies and multiply the result by ten and you'll be looking Summer in Abaddon in the face. This is the album that Pinback needed to stay afloat, to keep from being abandoned. Lets hope it isn't too late for people to notice.

Reviewed by Mikel Jurgen


See other reviews by Mikel Jurgen

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