There was something special about Sunny Day Real Estate. With a winning combination of well-crafted melodies, intelligent lyrics along with Jeremy Enigk's unmistakable vocals, their later albums such as How It Feels To Be Something On and The Rising Tide were nothing short of brilliant. Pinback shares quite a few similarities with Sunny Day, something that totally appeals to yours truly.
Their latest, Autumn Of The Seraphs, doesn't stray far from the formula that caught the media's attention on Summer In Abaddon. Moody, atmospheric indie rock that is disguised as pop, and they do it so well. The album begins with the fairly straightforward "From Nothing To Nowhere," with dueling guitar licks and staccato beats that punch through the alternating layers of vocals. This is definitely the right way to kick off an album.
One thing you will find throughout Autumn is Pinback's use of beats as unique textures. Their combination of rhythmic influences blends indie rock, prog and subtle hints of funk, as if Decemberists got obsessed with A Perfect Circle and early Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their rhythms lean towards math rock in their complexity at times, keeping the songs from cruising too closely to the mainstream accessibility of Death Cab For Cutie. That's not to say that there isn't any mass appeal to Pinback, as it would be easy to see tracks such as the infectious "Good To Sea" fall into that fine line between pop and indie that helped Modest Mouse sell a shit ton of records.
The poppier side of the band is great, but where they truly hit their stride is on their mid-tempo tracks such as "How We Breathe." The lush arrangements have time to build and grow, creating the perfect canvas for Zach Smith and Rob Crow to layer their vocal melodies over intertwining angular guitars and delicate beats. On the opposite side of their musical spectrum is "Devil You Know," exploding at times to moments that bring Sunny Day and a bit of Built To Spill to mind.
As our days begin to get shorter, with fall creeping closer and closer, Pinback's Autumn Of The Seraphs couldn't have arrived at a better time. Although the band doesn't show much change or growth from their previous effort, they've taken what they do best and have recorded yet another great collection of songs. This could take on a whole other life on the headphones once the leaves start to change.
"From Nothing To Nowhere"