Pinback’s fourth full-length effort, Autumn of the Seraphs, won’t be labeled as revolutionary, genre-defying or any other over-the-top superlative. Instead, it will simply be called “solid.”
As is the case with many indie-rockers, Pinback’s mainstays Armistead Burwell Smith IV (or Zach) and Rob Crow are involved with numerous other acts. The band actually began in 1998 when Smith and Crow were taking a break from playing with 3 Mile Pilot and Thingy, respectively.
Both did their fair share of singing, guitar playing, drumming and “whatnot,” as is written in the liner notes, on this album. They also recruited drummers Chris Prescott, of No Knife, and Mario Rubalcaba, of Rocket from the Crypt.
For you genre-whores, Autumn of the Seraphs is a sound example of alternative pop-rock mixed with elements of shoegaze. It features catchy melodies and beats as well as experimental guitar-work. The vocals also flirt with sounding like a typical alt-rock singer at one point and then like Eugene Goreshter, of Autolux, at another.
The emphasis, however, is on making this album accessible while keeping it “different” enough for indie-rock snobs to enjoy. For every “From Nothing to Nowhere,” which will make ’90s alt-rock fans swoon, there’s a potential pop hit like “Good to Sea.” There are also the Shins-sounding “Blue Harvest” and the pseudo-funky “Devil You Know” that have the ability to carry this album to another level.
The problem is that after the 43-minute listen is over, not much of the album sticks with you. Similarly, the Good, the Bad, and the Queen’s self-titled release suffered from the same setback. It’s enjoyable as a whole and can be broken down, particularly with the previously mentioned tracks, but afterwards, there is little left to draw the listener back.
That being written, Autumn of the Seraphs is still a welcome addition to any indie-rocker’s library. It even has the potential to act as the album to persuade a skeptic into listening to bands like Pinback, Built to Spill and Beulah. What it won’t do is blow you away. It also won’t top any critic’s list for best records of the year. From the sound of it, Pinback wasn’t going for that anyway.