Pinegrove: 11:11 (Rough Trade) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 28th, 2022  

Pinegrove

11:11

Rough Trade

Jan 28, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share


Pinegrove’s fifth album in the past decade finds leader Evan Stephens Hall pushed over the lines he said he wouldn’t cross. Though certainly politically minded, Stephens Hall has never put those thoughts to music so openly. Closing song “11th Hour” declares an “actual emergency” in its closing notes, while the most outspoken track here, “Orange,” calls out specifics in big government’s failure to do anything to reverse the climate crisis. And 11:11’s overall tone matches the lyrical call to arms. Gone are the subtle shadings of pedal steel and piano of the group’s last two releases, as are any instantly indie radio friendly tracks. And though most songs clock in at under the four-minute mark, all are fully formed and find this long-lived iteration of the band locked in and at their most urgent.

Though there are some softer shadings on display, the album ironically carries few vestiges of the band’s Americana leanings. Only “Flora” has an out and out country tinge to it, while one of the group’s prettiest songs to date, “Iodine,” starts with a simple enough acoustic structure but soon blossoms into a myriad of filagreed strands anchored by co-founder Zack Levine’s drum work and the gravitational pull of Megan Benavente’s basslines.

But lest any longtime fans fear that Pinegrove has only new territory to plow, there are plenty of the band’s trademarks to latch on to, from impassioned quotable lines like “I scream like a kettle” on the nearly eight-minute opener “Habitat” to Stephens Hall’s most stretched out “aaaaaah” moment to date on “Swimming.” And where Stephens Hall may have painted in broader strokes before, such as on Marigold’s “Endless,” here he offers a more direct recounting of the innumerable crush of days portrayed on “Respirate,” or the literal packing and unpacking of “So What,” that musically recalls the tangle of their earliest songs. For those looking for a more focused and less restrained approach by the band and Stephens Hall himself, 11:11 makes for a timely delivery. (www.pinegroveband.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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