Twenty years after their debut, Pinback bring their iconic indie sounds back to Chicago | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Twenty years after their debut, Pinback bring their iconic indie sounds back to Chicago 

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Pinback

Drew Reynolds

Indie-rock stalwarts Pinback have spent considerable time on the road in recent years, but they’ve been quiet on the studio front since the release of Information Retrieved (Temporary Residence) in 2012. Now, 20 years removed from Pinback’s self-titled debut, prolific multi-instrumentalists and singer-songwriters Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell “Zach” Smith are back with a new single—and they’ve hit the road again with their most famous band, one whose melodic progressions, distinctive guitar and bass tones, and oft-delicate vocal delivery were influential in late-1990s and early-2000s underground circles. Pinback’s later albums expanded their use of piano and keyboards and added a bit of violin and cello accompaniment, but they never deviated far from their trademark style. The new single in question, the excellent “ROJI (Roshomon Effect),” is classic Pinback—midtempo, melodic, and well balanced, with a bit of a distorted edge, it showcases the interplay between Crow and Smith’s instruments and Crow’s alternately breathy and urgent vocals. There’s been no announcement of a forthcoming album, but Crow told NBC San Diego in 2018, “There's not not new music.” This alone is encouraging, given that Crow, who has five children, publicly quit the business in 2015—then the next year, he debuted a new project, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place, and got back on the road. You should expect plenty of Pinback “oldies” at this Thalia Hall show, but from a duo as restless as Crow and Smith, you can also safely assume that there’s more coming soon.   v

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