Friday, September 13, 2013

Pinback at Irving Plaza

Vocalist/guitarist Robertdale Rulon “Rob” Crow, Jr., and bassist Armistead Burwell “Zach” Smith IV formed the indie-rock band Pinback in 1998 in San Diego, California. The band's name is a reference to a character in the 1974 film Dark Star. Since 1999’s debut album, the band has released only five studio albums. The band presently is touring off its Information Retrieved album, which was released a year ago. The live trio features Chris Prescott on drums.

At Irving Plaza tonight, part of the charm of Pinback’s music was that the melodic indie repertoire was not filled with predictable sing-along pop choruses. Performing before a large screen showing film clips (vintage cars, computers and toys and other visuals), Pinback’s performance brought back the art in art rock. The songs highlighted passionate vocals and oblique mind-melting musical arrangements over what felt like a cosmic landscape. Pinback’s music did not fit into any neat category. Ironically, not only were the songs unpredictable, their left-of-center compositions also made them unmemorable for those of us who came with only a marginal familiarity of Pinback’s catalogue. That was not necessarily a bad feature.

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