Release Date: Jun 9, 2015
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Having established their post-punk bona fides on Girls Like Us, PINS give their music more nuance and color on Wild Nights. Producer Dave Catching helps the band hone their attack on grinding rockers like "Baby Bhangs" and "Oh Lord," both of which suggest what Girls Like Us might have sounded like with some extra muscle. This newfound heft and focus ratchet up the tension that makes PINS so riveting at their finest: On "Too Little, Too Late"'s slowly swaggering verses and withering bridge, the band radiate menace but seem too cool to really kick up some dust -- then, just before the song ends, they do exactly that.
Wild Nights, album number two from Manchester’s PINS, is pretty reminiscent of both their debut (Girls Like Us) and a whole bunch of other artists from throughout history. If inclination took hold, you could almost certainly write down a fairly impressive list of people who PINS sound like. Construct an enormous Venn diagram of influences and place them at the centre of a whole cavalcade of intersects.
The hype that accompanied Pins’ early career, based chiefly on the lo-fi cool of their live shows, made you fear for their future. But the Manchester female quartet’s second record feels like a confident step forward. There’s an appealing mix of spikiness and swoon to their blend of distorted guitars, dazed harmonies and 80s-indebted indie jangle, and although derivative, they bring energy and drama to their source material.
The first Pins record and the live shows that they played in support of it were two entirely different entities. The record, which the band themselves described as ‘medium-fi’, had the uncomfortable sense of a group of songs stilted by over-thinking in the studio; they didn’t share the same aggression and pointedness of their onstage counterparts. Live, Pins played like a band in one hell of a hurry - faster, sharper and infinitely more abrasive than their recorded iteration.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Whether influenced by the city's post punk and Madchester periods, or something more intangible such as the spiritual vestiges of the Industrial Revolution, when it comes to Manchester it's often been the case that guitar bands aren't merely informed by their surroundings so much as they're almost defined by them. The emergence of the likes of Wu Lyf, Everything Everything and Dutch Uncles has bucked that notion in recent years, but unlike PINS, they've never been the straight-up, plug in and play type.
When a band makes a splash with their debut album, it can be difficult for them to move past it. Not because the band themselves don’t continue to evolve, but their audiences come to expect certain dynamics. So how does it play out that fierce Mancunians PINS have gone for a slightly less aggressive approach on their second album, Wild Nights? What really has become apparent is that PINS have more of a pop sensibility than they were willing to let on to before.
Pins’ debut album, Girls Like Us, was a record so in thrall to druggy, droney indie that it seemed as if it was in need of a spell in rehab. Instead, the Manchester four-piece sent their sound to the Joshua Tree desert, where QOTSA producer Dave Catching spruced up their sound – the druggy droning remains, but it all sounds far sharper now, with more tightly honed melodies shining through. From the Velvets to Mazzy Star, bands have been doing this for decades, and the lyrics aren’t always subtle (“Wild nights with Molly, she’s got a hold on me,” sings Faith Vern, in what can only be a clear and obvious reference to a female friend called Molly).
“You get a lot of shit for being in a girl band,” PINS’ singer-guitarist Faith Holgate told The Line of Best Fit three years ago. The unfortunate truth is that, even in 2015, being an all-female rock ‘n’ roll-group is still something of a novelty. On Wild Nights, PINS invoke plenty of comparisons to forebears like Sleater-Kinney and Hole, but maybe the clearest sign of progress in the genre is that when anger crops up in their work, it doesn’t feel strictly political.
"What will we do, what will we do, what will we do when our dreams come true?" asks Faith Holgate in the middle of "Young Girls", from PINS' second album. The garage foursome hails from Manchester, a city whose post-industrial malaise is as famous for feeding its native bands' romanticized melancholy as it is for the textile industry that built it. While railing against your environment is stultifying, Holgate suggests ("Sick for days watching the rain/ Everybody looks the same"), that frustration is useful for the way it stokes rebellion and keeps imaginations hungry.
When PINS emerged from Manchester with their 2013 debut Girls Like Us, they often found themselves somewhat lazily compared to fiery noise mongerers Savages. There were obvious checkpoints: both bands are female and make nods aplenty to the monochrome post-punk of Joy Division and Siouxsie and Banshees. Both employ a meticulously crafted image and elements of a similar sound; motorik, driving beats and throbbing bass layered heavily with fuzz and bone-cutting guitars.
You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up seven of the best new album releases from this week: catch up ….