Pinback @ Irving Plaza, 11/12/13
Very few bands channel indie rock’s slower side better than Pinback. Their combination of thoughtful lyrics, striking keys, and especially the thunderous bass line of Zach Smith make them stand outs in that space. They recently released their fifth LP, Information Retrieved, which they are touring in support of.
It’s funny that a band that could be pigeonholed as melancholy music actually puts a lot of effort into energizing their live show. A lot of their medium tempo songs were perceptibly revved up to encourage a party atmosphere. Frontman Rob Crowe handled a six pack by himself on stage, chugging beers between songs. He also spent a song jumping around with us in the audience. All of it was very unexpected and appreciated to mix things up from the expected.
Our perception of time can be a funny thing. Our sole support was a new act called Solos, which seemed to drag on forever despite their set clocking in at forty five minutes. Pinback’s hour and a half performance seemed to go by in a blink. Besides the aforementioned live energy, Pinback also offers esoteric visuals for most songs along the vein of projected words and thoughts. A perfect sweep to keep the audience consistently fixated on the band.
The only sore spot I have about this band is that they don’t automate too much of their live electronics. Keyboard and samples play significant roles in much of their newer material, and those going on autopilot are a major flaw. A few songs, including my favorite, Walters, hit with a thud with those pieces absent. Amusingly, they actually did bring a keyboard along, but it mostly spent time collecting dust. This mars what was otherwise an excellent show.