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Pinback | Blue Screen Life (Cutty Shark)
Opening with Offline P.K. (best described as Death Cab for Cutie playing Built To Spill), Pinback's follow-up to their masterful self-titled debut is another triumph for Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell Smith IV. Single Penelope (a love song to a fish) is sublime; delicate, breathy vocals intertwine, overlapping melodies atop a loping bassline, an acoustic guitar pattern and an infectious and hypnotic beat. It's a formula that serves them well across twelve tracks, a subtle onslaught of melodic seduction infiltrated by occasional welcome diversions (the cod-reggae of x I y, the tongue-in-cheek Prog). Offbeat, with dips into tragedy (Seville details a life cut short and closes with the unequivocal line "They're gonna kill us all"), an air of sadness permeates the album's lyrics, often indecipherable and languishing on a cloud of melodic calm. Blue Screen Life is as engaging and absorbing a listen as 'Quiet Is The New Loud' or 'Know By Heart' and displays a similar unfettered beauty thus making it a necessary and essential indulgence.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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