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Pinback Blue Screen Life Review

Album. Released 2001.  

BBC Review

These guys simply write great catchy indie songs...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Following the musical careers of San Diegos Rob Crow and Zach Smith (real name: Armistead Burwell Smith IV) is almost as difficult as keeping track of all the releases on Pete Namlooks Fax label (trust us - its a lot). Just as you think you're on top of things, they go and release some other new side project or solo EP, forcing yet another trip to the local record store.

The two gained notoriety in bands like Heavy Vegetable and Three Mile Pilot and while contributing to separate projects over the last nine or so years, both have established a signature sound so atypical that it could survive a Merzbow remix.

Excelling in layered vocal harmonies floating above complex acoustically driven soundtracks, this new Pinback release follows this trend closely. Unlike earlier material, the focus is kept clearly on the harmonies, no matter how many odd time signatures that get thrown in. Think Devo, The Cars, Modest Mouse, Can, Primus and then think of none of them.

But Pinback arent just another math/post/kraut rock band playing odd compositions for the sake of being terminally hip or to complement their black turtleneck jumpers. These guys simply write great catchy indie songs, and as complex as they may be, they do it with no visible pretence or agenda. Blue Screen Life has enough tricky time signiatures to keep even the most anally retentive musician guessing what comes next, but at the same time, tracks like Prog, Concrete Seconds or the exquisite single Penelope are so pretty and eloquent that they'll be stuck in your head for weeks.

Blue Screen Life is one of the most accessible and melodic releases these two have come up with so far, and long time fans will see a natural progression in the duos output. For those of you who are new to the band, this will serve as a great introduction to some of southern Californias most notable talents, whose back catalogue work is certainly worth tracking down and picking up.

At this rate, I dont think there will be any bands left in San Diego that havent had some musical contribution from one of these guys. Lets hope they spread their influences far and wide. It can only be a good thing.

Absolutely gorgeous.

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