Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some 4lyf Manchester Love With PINS

The new quartet from Manchester has already been likened to almost every all-girl band that ever walked the planet and a ready-built hype machine after their debut single Eleventh Hour. Sure, there were reasons people stood up and took notice, but very few of them for the right ones.

Most of the buzz up centered on who could compare them first, the limited release of their first single on a gold cassette tape, and then the tease for a few to build out their backgrounder with early interviews. But all that misses the real point, which is Faith Holgate (vocals, guitar), Lois McDonald (guitar), Anna Donigan (bass), and Lara Williams (drums) have plenty of talent laying down deeply textured, rhythmically stirring alt pop/rock.

Luvu4lyf by the PINS keeps you on needles. 

The debut EP doesn't waste any time recovering the first single or its B-side, Shoot Out. It breaks with four new tracks, one of which was recorded live. The EP's namesake song starts it all out on a somber note, much like the Eleventh Hour single did.

Luvu4lyf opens with insistently thick, meaty percussion accompanied by an equally purposeful bass line. The guitars weave themselves in between brooding and effective vocals, creating an eerie, atmospheric quality with a heavy dose of smokey claustrophobia.

Conjuring up cloudy images of something like a cross between the Prisoner and Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Luvu4lyf is darkly exquisite in conjuring up the feeling of being imprisoned. The song reaches a crescendo in its singular chorus of intent before descending back down into its even-handed opening.

It makes a good first impression, but perhaps is not nearly as powerful as the trashier garage pop tucked inside of Say To Me. The brutish huskiness of the song contrasts with Holgate's unforgettably stark vocals. You hear every word, clearly, against the bending instrumentals that brush up evenly against psychedelic and surf rock.

Between Luvu4lyf and Say To Me, PINS plays at being more ethereal in approach, giving Holgate a ghostly art rock sound. Little Sting is the gloomiest track, but no less intense or powerful. There is something menacing about Little Sting, even if it sounds like it would be better savored live. They saved that feel for their final track, but it's difficult to pinpoint why.

Without the power of the rest of the EP, the PINS ends the EP on a whisper. While meant to tease what it feels like to be attendance, You Don't Need To Be ultimately disappears within its own reverb.

A minor wrap of promising things things to come.

PINS band website
What the band does have on its side is an insatiable chemistry among the members, even if they readily tell people that they are still looking for their sound or, maybe more correctly, disinterested in settling into one. The band members typically write music with visuals in mind — both video and live shows.

Early on, the band was admittedly rigid on stage, but those days already seem far, far behind them. How long has it been? It's been barely a year since they came together, making Luvu4lyf a finer debut than many bands, regardless of gender.

Just make it a point to give Shoot You a listen too. It proves, where much of the rest doesn't, that there are more sounds to be explored by the PINS beyond the four tracks on their EP. Of course, many people who have seen them live already know that.

Luvu4lyf By PINS Sticks 5.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Initially, I had thought to say buy three and skip the fourth, but that isn't quite right. When you listen to You Don't Need To Be several times in a more isolated state and really listen to what Holgate is saying, it makes for a pretty smart piece of work despite not being immediately likable.

You can download Luvu4lyf by PINS from iTunes or look for the Luvu4lyf on Amazon. PINS are currently on tour in the United Kingdom. With a little luck, they'll discover that they won't run out of land when they reach the ocean. There are more venues to tap Stateside. You can still find their initial single on SoundCloud.
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