Release Date: Oct 12, 2004
Record label: Touch & Go
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
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.
True to their Californian roots, for Pinback the path to nirvana is paved with textured melodies, layered harmonies and an old-fashioned sense of pop. Their songs are dreamscapes and their methods decidedly eccentric; a gauze of instruments and ideas distancing the high voices of singers Armistead Burwell Smith IV (aka Zac) and Rob Crow from their stoner sentiments. The result is that their third album is a triumph of intense weirdness and cosy warmth - like Radiohead with a muzzy head.
Pinback’s first two studio albums and EPs were of pretty much the same type. Those who like Pinback will argue that this means a fan of any one of their albums will undoubtedly enjoy their entire catalog. Detractors, on the other hand, argue that everything sounds the same. The style of Pinback albums – “atmospheric, yet gently propulsive,” according to NPR – varies from release to release, but only slightly, like shades of gray on a color scale.