Nov 14, 2012 Issue #43 - Animal Collective
Pinback are one for the indie rock purists. In 2012, a band can be more beard-stroking than drum kit-thrashing and include a Mongolian throat-singer where should stand a rhythm guitarist and still be branded ‘indie rock.’ That’s nothing to criticize, but it goes partway to explaining why Information Retrieved sends a nostalgic ripple up my spine.
All the classic indicators are here: the nasal bungee of Rob Crow’s voice—that same voice which progresses to an elegant snarl when necessary, Zach Smith’s propulsive bass lines, and an overall sound that harks back to the turn of millennium, skateboard wheels drifting over suburban pavements toward a heat haze in the distance. Despite being hugely technically accomplished and stylistically mature, there’s still a sense of Pinback as that band that formed in your neighbor’s garage. Take “Proceed to Memory,” a track that opens with the distinctive twang of two guitars weaving in and out of one another, quickly building to a refined release of angst, a delicately orchestrated sense of friction. Or “Sherman,” which opens as perhaps one of the most danceable entries in the band’s catalogue, drums modestly mixed, but crisp and unabashed all the same. What links these 10 tracks is the modest, back-to-basics setup. Pinback are a band dedicated to exploiting their identikit instrumentation of bygone days to the nth degree, in an era when ears are preoccupied with the bleeps of bedroom musician’s samplers, and that’s where this record finds its charm.
Information Retrieved achieves an interesting balance between showcasing Pinback’s unique take on classic indie rock and offering something that’s immediately familiar, something with the air of an old acquaintance—which is exactly what they’ll be to most listeners. Fourteen years into their career and the most apt idiom just seems to be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” (www.pinback.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 10/10