Pinback - Information Retrieved

‘Information Retrieved’ is an album which reeks with a quiet sense of craftsmanship.

Label: Temporary Residence

Rating: 7

This is Pinback’s fifth album in fifteen years. Which if you’re an optimist suggests Rob Crow and Zach Smith, the San Diego based duo at the core of the band, are the kind of people who like to take their time. And, if you’re a pessimist, marks them down as the worst kind of slackers; the kind of sluggards that make first year archaeology students look assiduous.

They say a pessimist is never disappointed. Except here, where they’re totally wrong. Ha. Miserable buggers. ‘Information Retrieved’ is an album which reeks with a quiet sense of craftsmanship. It doesn’t brag about its qualities, it merely basks in a humble sense of satisfaction at what it achieves.

It’s a wistful, thoughtful thing. The kind of record you always imagined you’d make after splitting from your long-standing partner, the gorgeous one who was always too good for you, were you capable of being magnanimous in defeat and in control of your anger. Or indeed had either a long-standing life partner or a smidgen of musical talent.

You’d probably have to be a cryptic so-and-so as well. This isn’t an overtly melancholic record - it isn’t really overtly anything - but, in a subtle way, the atmosphere errs towards glumness. Not that is necessarily a bad thing. It certainly helps cement your initial classification of ‘Information Retrieved’ as another American indie-rock album. Worldly, well-read and emotionally mature. A bit Build To Spill, a little The Postal Service, a sliver of Modest Mouse.

But while it fits nicely into that company, when you dig you find more. There is a complexity to the arrangements that hint at a wider range of influences: the jazzy guitar that introduces ‘Glide’, seamlessly giving way to something more rocky. The beautiful interlocking build of the string beds and jarring riffs of ‘True North’. The way the opening piano part of ‘Diminished’ sounds like Robbie Williams’ ‘Feel’… Ok, perhaps not that, but there is plenty about ‘Information Retrieved’ that makes it more interesting than ‘American indie-rock album’ may initially suggest.

True, it never escapes that categorisation, but to dismiss it purely on those terms is churlish. While it may be an album with a fairly prescribed pattern, it’s one that is done so well and embellished so cutely, that it leaves you feeling an enormous sense of contentment. The contentment of hearing a good job done well.