Record review

Phases & Stages


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.)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Melanie Haupt
Gifts for Sweet Teeth
Gifts for Sweet Teeth
Say it with sugar this holiday season

Dec. 2, 2022

Talkin’ Chicken With Jacques Pépin at the Texas Book Festival
Talkin’ Chicken With Jacques Pépin at the Texas Book Festival
The revered culinarian’s new book showcases his paintings and stories of poultry

Nov. 4, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle