A Place to Bury Strangers Pinned Dead Oceans
Sometimes albums grow on you, and repeated listens reveal hidden rewards. Sometimes, a record just gets worse. Pinned is of the latter camp. The influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain is as present as ever for A Place To Bury Strangers, and lead singer/designer of guitar pedals Oliver Ackermann is never going to give up on fuzz. The New York band have gradually cleaned away some of the fog that so enshrouded their eponymous debut, but the trouble is, songwriting has never been their strong suit.
At best here, clichéd mantras counterpoint pleasingly thunderous crashes and chirrups of treble (Execution), and the band make a decent homage to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Maps (Was it Electric). At worst, hackneyed ideas of ‘rock n roll’ (Attitude) and vague, macho lyricism (Too Tough to Kill) rub shoulders with what feels like an endless succession of indie-disco beats that are exhausting by the album’s end. It’s not all bad: the band fare ok when swapping that annoying hi-hat rattle for machined beats as on Look Me in the Eye and I Know I’ve Done Bad Things, and Ackermann definitely can write good songs. Pinned is simply missing the sweetness that’s hidden away on previous albums. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s trick was to submerge gorgeous pop songs in their catatonic squall. By neglecting this, APTBS and Pinned are dour and hollow by comparison.