Pinback rehashes old sound in latest album

Andrew Fernandez, Staff Writer

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As if they never left, San Diego natives Pinback are back for a new album. The indie rock band led by Rob Crow and Zach Smith were most known for their local radio singles “Penelope,” and “From Nothing to Nowhere.”

Producing music for over 14 years, Pinback has taken plenty of time to make and release their recognizable indie rock sound. Their albums “Blue Screen Life” and “Summer in Abaddon” have garnered a niche following and gained popularity in the indie music scene. Most recently, they have taken a break to work on separate or solo projects before coming back together for their new album, “Information Retrieved”.

The new album was released October 16 through music label Temporary Resistance Limited. Pinback’s fifth studio album remains consistent and true to their signature sound, leaving some disappointed with the familiarity while newcomers can turn a new ear to mellow independent rock music.

The opening tracks contain perhaps some of the album’s strongest tracks, picking up right where they left off five years prior. The ten track LP opens with a single already released on SoundCloud, “Proceed to Memory.” The track stays committed to Pinback’s roots with a catchy guitar lead by Rob Crow but also adds a nice touch on the keyboard with electronic hues before ending with what is arguably the most energetic track of the album.

That energy is immediately toned down in the following track “Glide.” It opens with a catchy technical guitar riff reminiscent of math-rock but seems to fall short of the high energy emitted from the previous track. One can be left slightly disappointed or deceived when expecting the same for track two. But the shift towards a familiar, less jittery sound provides a comfort zone for old fans. “Sherman” is one of those down tempo tracks led by Zach Smith with a smooth bass rhythm providing more ambient and mellow indie rock.

The duo provides formulaic tracks doing what they do best and have been most renowned for: the unison of guitar and bass along with harmonic melodies and rhythms flowing elegantly and rocking out ever so lightly. “His Phase” and “A Request” are two other tracks showcasing Pinback’s prowess and progress towards this sound.

Previous fans can be let down compared to the lack of energy contained in older songs such as “From Nothing to Nowhere.” The momentum and liveliness of the opening track is not followed throughout the rest of the album. “Information Retrieved” does not deviate too far from their already popular sound which can leave others disappointed to a stagnant vibe. “Diminished” with its piano jazzy intro, and “True North” with a more orchestral composition show some promise towards exploring different sounds, but the absence of innovation can drown out fans that were attracted to them through the radio.

“Information Retrieved” contains tracks reminiscent of older ones such as “Good to Sea” and “Fortress,” but still displays baby steps towards innovative sounds. It is a strong showing, and listeners will find familiarity with their recognizable sound. Pinback’s consistency towards producing their signature sound despite taking a long break making other music shows they will still be making excellent music now and for years to come. While lacking the energy and jitter of some of their most famous tracks, “Information Retrieved” contains more ambient and expansive tracks that can be explored through repeated listens.

Rating: 3/5

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