Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say about a record because it’s a straightforward album. Such is the case with The Pinheads’ Is This Real.
I’ll try, anyway.
Here’s a quick shout out to Force Field PR for curating a cool roster of artists that they send to music blogs like this one. This was unprompted, by the way. Full disclosure, I felt like I had been neglecting coverage of artists promoted by this particular company, and when I looking for artists on their roster to see if anyone struck my fancy, The Pinheads stood out right away.
Listening to Is This Real takes me back to the early days of blogging. Those days when I was starting to discover the underbelly of the indie rock scene, I observed and heard the veterans of the Columbus rock scene light up a dive bar near my housing at the time. The Pinheads sound like they’re experienced; the vocals have some grit to them.
Yet, The Pinheads show room for growth. I hear some parallels between this album and the early days of White Reaper (another find courtesy of Force Field—thanks, guys!). Thanks in particular to the song “Not Like You” for offering that punk sensibility reminiscent of that band. Bands have started with this washed out, left out in the sun sound and evolved over time into something more accessible, and I feel that this band could do that too. Or, they could remain in their warm, washed out sound and cultivate a small but loyal fanbase of indie rock lovers. The song “No Time” has me picturing fans and band members alike nodding in agreement to that assertion. The psychedelic vibes of “Innocent Crime” has me in the mood for a summer shandy and reminds me a bit of Columbus favorites Bummers.
The only real missteps of this record happen in the bookending songs; “Pure Hate” takes awhile to get going and “Spread Your Love” feels a bit aimless. Yet, there is artistic merit in the direction here. An aimless, wandering kind of song with such a title as the latter suggests that this is how we should approach love; without a pattern, open to whatever, and embracing the messiness that comes with it. By contrast, my favorite “slow burner” moment of the record might be in the first minute or so of “So Alone,” which appropriately plays out like an apathetic lament.
Here’s to me warming up some more to this band this summer (pun intended).