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Summer In Abaddon

Pinback

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Album Review

Although Summer in Abaddon is in keeping with the lush, bittersweet tenor of Pinback's previous work, the band's Touch & Go debut is much quieter and more reserved than the busy electronic indie pop of 2003's Offcell EP. Instead, the band opts for a more organic, introspective sound that tends to put interesting productions and arrangements ahead of driving tempos or instantly catchy songwriting. Fortunately, this emphasis on delicate, cerebral pop pays off, albeit eventually: although tracks like the darkly lovely "Sender" and "3X0" initially seem too atmospheric, they gradually reveal tightly structured melodic interplay that makes them more intriguing than they might be if they were more immediately engaging. Indeed, Summer in Abaddon might work best as background music that occasionally creeps up and surprises you with its musical and lyrical details. The album's pristine production and emphasis on acoustic and electric pianos adds to its subtle, sophisticated feel, particularly on the vaguely jazzy "Bloods on Fire" and the softly poppy "This Red Book." Even the more immediate tracks, such as "Non Photo Blue," "The Yellow Ones," and "Syracuse," have a more polished, mysterious vibe than any of Pinback's previous work. The band does rock out, relatively, on the gently driven "Fortress" and "AFK," which recalls Pinback's emo roots, but the album's most delicate moments are also its strongest. Summer in Abaddon is an album of small, but hardly insignificant pleasures, and it may be Pinback's finest work yet.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

While a rotating cast of instrumentalists find loose assembly under the Pinback name, the partnership of Armistead Burwell Smith IV and Rob Crow is at the heart of the some of the most complex, postmodern indie pop happening on the West Coast. In the first few days of 1998, Armistead Burwell Smith IV (of San Diego-based Three Mile Pilot) and Rob Crow (of Thingy and Heavy Vegetable) formed a part-time recording project under the name Pinback. The simple plan grew more involved while Three Mile Pilot...
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Summer In Abaddon, Pinback
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