Rob Crow is the frontman of celebrated indie rock veterans Pinback, though one listen to Living Well, his fourth solo effort, and even a casual fan of the San Diego-based outfit would be able to put two and two together. The new album isn't too much of a departure from his work with Pinback. In fact, a number of songs on the 14-track album sounds like they could be rough demos of a forthcoming Pinback record... and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Songs like album opener "Bam Bam," the chilled out "Over Your Heart," and quite a few others contain the signature vocal/guitar interplay and lyrical thoughtfulness that Pinback fans have come to know and love over the course of the band's nearly decade-long career.
There are some truly unique and interesting songs however, that would never find their way to a Pinback record and those are some of the most exciting moments of Living Well. "Liefeld" is one example. The sub-two-minute song has a vaudeville-esque vibe and is based around a simple drum beat, keyboards and muffled banjo. But more often than not, Crow sticks to what he does best, and who can blame him. Living Well is a solid album made by a talented musician with a proven track record. We should expect nothing less than something special, and that's exactly what he delivers here.