At this point in their career, Pinback has made one thing clear: every album they release sounds pretty similar, but dammit if they aren’t all good. What allows Pinback to get away with this redundancy is that there aren’t any other bands that sound quite like them. The dual harmonies of Rob Crow and Zach Smith complement one another so well, it’s as though they were always meant to go together. The multi-instrumentalism (it seems there’s always something else to listen to in each song—strings, keyboards, piano, electronic drums, bass, and various guitars), and the darker nature of the music mixed with the pop sensibilities cause the band to stand out in the indie rock scene. The lyrics continue to remain obscure, albeit catchy. “It shouldn’t be so hard to have a nice day,” the band sings on “Diminished” and soon I’m crooning along, too, but I have no idea what I’m even singing about. And in the course of the ten songs in thirty-eight minutes, this happens frequently. The opening track, “Proceed to Memory,” might be one of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year and while none of the other tracks can top it, “True North” and the closer, “Sediment,” are both strong numbers. The one stinker on Information Retrieved is “Denslow, You Idiot!,” mainly because the keyboard sounds like it was taken from a rejected Wesley Willis song, especially at the beginning of the track. While the nuances of the tone of an album can be rather subjective, Information Retrieved seems to be more melancholic than much of Pinback’s previous work, which sits well with this reviewer. The day this band records a happy pop album is the day I stop listening to them. But based on where they’re at with this latest album, it appears that’s not occurring any time soon.
–kurt (Temporary Residence)