Sunday’s show at the High Noon Saloon provided clear evidence of a loyal following for the previously on-hiatus band Pinback. With eyes intently locked on guitarist and lead vocalist Rob Crow, many fans were singing along with just as much emotion. The band’s tour is promoting the release of its fifth album, Information Retrieved.
Lyrically poetic, the hard edge of well-measured drumming and clean chords creates a unique sound Pinback executes with precision. Common in many of its songs are hypnotic melodies juxtaposed against energetic harmonies; for musicians and music lovers alike, this band is a true gem, and it sparkled as such Sunday.
Pinback’s music creates a mood that has a romantic feel with a dark edge. Refreshingly, this is a band that defies conformity of genre: The closest bands to liken it to would be a crossbreeding of Built to Spill and Shellac. Take the essence of grunge rock combined with a streamlined alternative rock chord, intermix that with lingering vocals, and you have the core quality of Pinback’s sound. It could almost be described as emo-grunge, but the upbeat attitude and tempo create a vibe that makes it more unique than any label could clearly identify.
Adding to the mood of the show, projected on-screen behind the band were ephemeral imagery of sailboats, supernovas, venus flytraps and rocket ships. Energetic rhythms kept the crowd moving – nothing too crazy, mostly head-bobbing, feet tapping and shoulder rocking. Crow, wearing a thick gnarly beard on his large build, looked more like a metal-head than an indie-rocker. To the contrary, his voice melded with the music with just the right timbre to create an appropriate balance of lyric and instrument.
At one point during the show, Crow employed his microphone as a slide against the strings of his guitar. Made famous by the experimental genius that is Thurston Moore of the band Sonic Youth, this method of showing off takes talent, and Crow proved his confidence of the ability. This act was a definite crowd pleaser, instigating ample applause.
The character and personality of Pinback band members couldn’t have been more warm and friendly. After the performance, Crow, bassist Zach Smith and drummer Chris Prescott took time to visit with fans and sign records. It is important to emphasize the fact the band’s latest album is on vinyl, and colored vinyl at that. This is a testament to Pinback’s attention to every element and detail of the band’s aesthetic. The artwork alone is exceptional: Portraying a dream-like state, set at night, a figure is portrayed exploring unusual objects in a field. The sleeve then opens up to a scene of divers exploring a sunken ship and a house surrounded by trees all enclosed by a fence. The images are inviting enough to mentally walk right into and explore the unfamiliar environment.
Like its album artwork, Pinback’s music holds a sense of mystery, an invitation to let go a little and engage with a deeper innate vibe. The band’s warm live presence invited fans to explore with it Sunday.