Pinback – Information Retrieved (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
PINBACK exist somewhere in the musical landscape occupied by fellow US artists such as The Shins and Fountains of Wayne.
Since their inception in the late ‘90s, they’ve attracted a strong reputation for delivering addictive indie-pop in the US at least, built around Zach Smith’s bass guitar acrobatics and Rob Crow’s appealing vocals (not to mention an ever-rotating cast of musical supporting players).
For their fifth album, Information Retrieved, it’s more of the same. And the result is quite genial without necessarily delivering a killer moment to blow you away, or to really get them noticed on this side of the pond.
There’s initial promise in the addictive opening hooks of Proceed to Memory, which is high on melody and Californian sunshine pop values, as well as pleasing interlocked vocal harmonies, while the intricate riffs of Glide also bring a certain amount of goodwill.
The mix of piano and slick bass on Drawstring also gives the track a cool vibe that also veers towards Shins-like territory, while beefing things up for the chorus, while Sherman offers an easy album highlight with more acrobatic bass and some handclap beats that almost have a Bowie like quality to them.
But the longer things last, the more they begin to fall into a similar groove. There’s a gentleness about their sound that occasionally requires a wake-up call to really make the listener sit up and take notice.
Tracks like Diminished and even His Phase struggle to get going or to differentiate themselves.
A Request puts things slightly back on track with a sound that recalls both REM and The Shins (to satisfying effect), while Denslow, You Idiot! has an urgency about it that leaves you pining for more of the same – it’s the shortest track on the LP and sounds more like the band having fun, while rocking out.
And even Sediment ends things on a toe-tappingly pleasing note, combining bittersweet lyricism with some cute hooks and a layered, even shimmering chorus.
But there remains that nagging sense that the album still somehow promises more than it ultimately delivers… even though it’s a good listen, it kind of leaves you wanting more.
Download picks: Proceed To Memory, Sherman, Denslow, You Idiot!, Sediment