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Bringing Home the Last Great Strike

Pinetop Seven

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Album Review

A more refined effort than their previous releases, Bringing Home the Last Great Strike seems to be a natural progression for Pinetop Seven. Focusing on the dark side of human frailty, the band weaves haunting, abstract lyrics and rich, melancholy instrumentation to create intricate stories of death, disappointment, and self-realization. More than ten musicians play on the album using everything from slide guitars and accordions to toy pianos, clarinets, and trumpets, and the album flows through a range of styles. There are the instrumentals, such as the tinkling opening "As the Mutiny Sleeps" and the closing dirge "Buried in St. Cloud"; the thoughtful, melodic "Ten Thousand to Carlisle Came" and "November, 4 AM"; and the harrowing spoken word piece "At His Kitchen Table," which focuses on a man struggling to peel a tangerine who realizes his own mortality. Although the album is beautifully composed, both musically and literally, the winding, layered arrangements can be a difficult listen, especially considering that many times the vocals are partially obscured. Repeated listens may be necessary to capture this introspective album's full intricacy and imagery.


Formed: Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After meeting at Vanderbilt University where both were psychology majors, Darren Richard and Charles Kim began playing together in 1990. They backed a female jazz vocalist in Nashville-area clubs before moving to Chicago and forming Pinetop Seven in 1994. A year later, they recorded their eponymous debut in their landlord's attic. Shortly after, Ryan Hembrey joined the band. He'd posted a bunch of flyers around the city advertising for bass lessons, but Kim was the only one who'd called. The band...
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Bringing Home the Last Great Strike, Pinetop Seven
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