Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pinback - Summer in Abaddon

score: 4 out of 5

Pinback's latest LP, Summer in Abaddon, begins with muted guitar and bass picking, and quickly jumps into a midtempo jam, courtesy of a snare and high-hat combination. This track by the West Coast-based postmodern indie pop/rock duo is titled 'Non-Photo Blue', and marks the emergence of the act's first full-length album since 2001's Blue Screen Life. Released in the fall of 2004 as the follow-up to a 2003 EP, Pinback's Summer in Abaddon is a smooth, reflective sort of album, which plays on the band's quiet side. Although Pinback actually consists of a changing lineup of musicians, it is the steady partnership of the multitalented Armistead Burwell Smith IV and Robert Crow that has consistently produced critically-acclaimed albums since the late 90's.
Pinback's math-rock sound could potentially be categoried if one mixed together Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie. On this release, Pinback relies less on their previous electronic attributes, and focuses more often on crisp, delicate acoustic piano and guitar structures.
This delicacy becomes apparent early on, as the opening jam glides into the mellow sounds of 'Sender.' Instead of track one's syncopated vocals, 'Sender' is sung at a near-whisper over the group's signature acoustic guitar + bass-heavy rhythms formula. The whole album is presented as a moderately paced collection, however there is something sluggishly deep and atmospheric to the overall production. Music to ponder to if you will. Songs about lazy summer days. Shy and mysterious, the album's intricate, ethereal qualities emerge upon closer examination. The album achieves thoughtfulness, and doesn't focus on trying to be catchy...even though it definitely is in its own subtle way.
Whether it is the bouncy chorus of 'Fortress' , or the soft cooing "uh oh"s of 'This Red Book', Pinback delves into the mysterious subconscious with sophistication and charm. On 'The Yellow Ones', the tempo slows and pulsates, with space-age quirks floating in the background of a sturdy piano accompaniment. The elusive vocals swirl around in soft circles with lyrics such as "I feel my head. going down again. I feel my head. going down again."
Just as the listener has almost been soothed completely to sleep, the final track "AFK" comes along, building upon pounding drums and chantings to create one of the disc's heaviest songs. This summit is reached about halfway through the song, and the final couple of minutes drive off into the setting sun - leaving the final words trailing off into the distance:

"Miles and Miles of telephone poles.
Fallen and tossed around.
I can't talk to you anymore...and I miss you.
Not in a slint way...but I miss you..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We love you TAE!