Pinback
Blue Screen Life


4.0
excellent

Review

by Happymeal USER (8 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 30 replies | 10,333 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


Forming in 1998 and starting only as a side project when founders Zach Smith and Rob Crow decided to use their free time to collaborate on some songs, and eventually with all the interesting new material they've come up with came the birth of Pinback. "Excuse me?" Yeah, you heard me right, Pinback. This talented, fine, young pair from San Diego are still small dots in the indie scene, but have one heckuva resume, taking part in and gathering influences from yesteryear acts such as Physics, Heavy Vegetable, Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession.

By the release of Blue Screen Life the duo already have 2 EPs and an LP under their belt, but it wasn't until the surfacing of this album that more listeners actually paid attention to them. Zach does the bass, Rob plays guitar. Both take turns in vocal tasks and adding percussive and electronic textures; Tom Zinsor, also of Three Mile Pilot, plays drums on 3 of the tracks.

While they are far from being phenomenal or groundbreaking, it leaves me in awe everytime I listen to them. First thing you'll notice about this album is that it's very softly mixed. Some tracks will sound like they should be cranked up a lot more, but it fits nicely into their style. Pinback take the word "subtle" and give it new meaning, to mold it with other sonic concoctions and create their own sound that is not entirely original, but unmistakably theirs.

On to the album. The songs have that warm, familiar quality to them despite the rather alienating titles. Offline P.K. immediately sucks you in with its groovy, fluid guitar opening; it's an easy tune to get into and it exudes the band's childish quirkiness that is apparent with most of their work. This is also true with the next track, Concrete Seconds, which emphasizes even more of those feel-good beats that they're able to come up with. Don't let those two songs mislead you however, from their usual forte. Boo suddenly turns the world around with its mournful watery guitars and less organic drums(this goes to show how the guys like to tinker around the drum machine a lot), coupled with lyrics that tell of undying love:

"If the line snaps and there's no air, will you hold me?
If I'm asleep, will you wake me?
If this rises and we hit the waves, will you dive back down?"

This makes for a wonderfully weird and affectionate pop song that's pleasing to the ears. X I Y and Prog showcase the band's prowess in making groove-heavy compositions without exactly taking in the "wave your head, jump around" cheesiness that other bands seem to glorify in their happy songs. The former having a *gasp!* cheery reggae-like premise to it and the latter being uplifting and soaring. It's a nice contrast and a break from all the lonely bits going on. The last two tracks, West and Tres are for me, the high points of this record. Both are beautifully piano-laden ballads that could almost jerk a tear from you, and that they hold a sense of longing and belonging accompanied by the rather dreary but innocent vocals.

The only major gripe I can think of is well, the production. Although a large improvement over their previous releases, you can't help but expect more polish from it, which sometimes sound like it was made on Acid or on Fruity Loops. Well that has been an issue for me on my first few listens, but over time I understood and appreciated how it works wonders on and fits perfectly with the songs.

If ever you feel like reminiscing through your childhood years or just want to get away from all the noise, listen to this. It will keep you safe in its own protective covering filled with dreamy, hypnotic, and at times upbeat textures. Consider this to be your warm little blanky that tucks you in your little 'ol bed, or a simple story that puts you to sleep, but is far from being one-sided and boring. With that said, this album really is not for everyone. Rather, it touches those who extend their ears to its quiet radiance, to give them a soft 12 song journey through the lullaby that is Blue Screen Life.

Sweet dreams.


4/5

Recommended for fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse and similar bands

Many thanks to Kazoo(Ornery Cephalopod) for getting me into them:)



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user ratings (158)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wanker
December 22nd 2004



139 Comments


Interesting band. Haven't heard of them though.

Great review too :cool:

Happymeal
December 22nd 2004



330 Comments


Thanks very much

Download a couple of Pinback songs here.

I have a slow ass upload speed on slsk, but I'm just 1 album short of their discography in case you're interested on checking them out.

Ornery Cephalopod
December 22nd 2004



21 Comments


You're welcome. And great review. :thumb:

This is probably my least favorite album of their's (including the 2 main EPs), but it's still pretty dang good. Such a great band.

Tangy zizzle
December 22nd 2004



253 Comments


/Pity post.

Tapeworm
December 22nd 2004



118 Comments


I've heard two songs by Pinback, both off this album, and I really dig um. Nicely nicely reviewed Happo.

bdizfoshiz
February 13th 2007



273 Comments


Penelope is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. Damn solid. I may have to pick up some of the stuff from these guys.

PuddleSwimmer
April 25th 2009



1457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't get enough of Penelope

iwinyoulose
May 24th 2009



75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yahoo! Pinback is THEE shitttt! Boo is faakin amazingg

cirq
June 28th 2009



9263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm completely in love with this album

PuddlesPuddles
July 20th 2009



4772 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm completely in love with anyone completely in love with this album

masterofcum
July 31st 2009



428 Comments


i wish this album had more than one song

patrickfannon
July 3rd 2011



886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bbtone is one of the best songs ever recorded, hands down. It's fucking amazing. Instantly mellows me out.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Collis
August 15th 2012



448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

penelope is probably my favorite.

scissorlocked
September 14th 2012



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is dope!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2012



10073 Comments


I'm probably gonna get the promo for their next album, really excited.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

scissorlocked
September 14th 2012



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well, this one is an excellent album, and I've heard that Summer in Abaddon is even better.

and there's a new album on the way? That's great

wabbit
December 23rd 2012



6989 Comments


So many people would love this but have never heard of it.

wacknizzle
December 23rd 2012



12997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree @wonarabbit, Pinback is an awesome band.

Digging: Polyptych - Illusorium

Uranium
April 17th 2013



7092 Comments


Seville is killing it tonight

Uranium
April 17th 2013



7092 Comments


The vibes on this are flawless



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