Pinback

Record review

Phases & Stages

Pinback

Summer in Abaddon (Touch & Go)

San Diego-based Pinback is among a select group of indie rock bands who excel at making incredibly nuanced pop music full of graceful layers the intrepid listener can delight in sorting out. Yet while the music is lovely, lyrically, Summer in Abaddon is as bleak as spending August on the road to perdition, like the title suggests. Opener "Non Photo-Blue" reveals exactly what Armistead Burwell Smith IV (Zach) and Rob Crow have been up to in the three years since Blue Screen Life (Absolutely Kosher). Where BSL is passionate but somewhat remote, Smith and Crow emote a bit more freely on Summer, which could be simply a matter of mixing the vocals a bit higher, except the pair sounds closer to the listener somehow. Even then, however, the melodies are as aggressive as the lyrics. "Bloods on Fire" is a perfect example of this aesthetic, the marrow of the song resting in the taut rhythms and pensive guitar melody. "AFK" arm wrestles lyrics and drums, the guitar acting as a referee. The first two-thirds of the tune writhe, but it ends with a whisper, "I miss you" being the closing salvo of guitar extending a quiet power as the words slowly fade. It's a gripping testament to Pinback's evolving ability to prick your consciousness and leave it oozing bright-red globules of pop intrigue. (Pinback plays Emo's Saturday, Nov. 13.)

***

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