Recorded in Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, California, PINS’ second album ‘Wild Nights’ seems worlds away from their Manchester roots and debut, ‘Girls Like Us.’ Whilst the surfy riffs and often languorous lyrics echo this Californian vibe, the punk girl-group’s rawness with grimy guitar riffs and singer Faith Vern’s deadpan vocals ensure that their Manc toughness is always close to hand. ‘Wild Nights’ highlights a moody, mature and well-honed PINS, without comprising their characteristic riot grrl spirit. No, the album isn’t perfect; at times the lack of emotional depth and awkward rhyming of the lyrics seem a little forced, but it showcases the range of genres the quartet cross, plus, who wants a perfect punk album when punk defies and rejects perfection? The whole effect of the Cali/Mancunian album conjures images of lazing on the grass on one of those rare and precious gems in life; a hot, rainless British day….whilst thinking up biting insults to fling at some asshole you’re pissed off with. As Vern sings in ‘Molly,’ it is ‘the perfect storm.’
The opening track, ‘Baby Bhangs’ has catchy and dark guitar riffs and Vern’s nonchalant lyrics instructing her captive audience to, ‘dance til you die’ command attention and ensure every listener wants to join her tribe. The chorus is reminiscent of the Vivian Girls, if only they wore black leather and layered on eyeliner to heavily darken their eyelids. However, like in ‘House of Love’ the instrumental moments and tone of the vocals carry more weight than the lyrics. In the latter Vern shouts, ‘you’ve seen it all before,’ perhaps referring to the band’s own influences and iconic predecessors, but also unintentionally linking back to the same lyrically disengaging opener.
‘Young Girls’ is the album’s gem; the surf pop guitar hooks and upbeat tempo suit the lackadaisical vocals producing a slacker, skate vibe reminiscent of Best Coast’s sunny alt-rock. Interestingly Best Coast’s latest album was titled ‘California Nights’, a name which could be easily applied to PINS’ offering. ‘Dazed By You’ again reflects the distorted guitars, and carefree attitude until it cascades into chaotic climax offering some much needed release from the anxiety of the love-struck lyrics. Speaking to ‘Dazed’ about the track, ‘Too Little Too Late’ Vern confessed, ‘I still get a lump in my throat when I sing the song.’ Despite the circumstances behind the track, ‘Too Little Too Late’ has the same dead-pan insults and dry, droning vocals to make it feel like sticking two fingers up to whoever it was that pissed off Vern and her bandmates. The clattering drums at the close of the track result in a chaotic climax and is a refreshing letting go of the emotion which has been so contained in the earlier parts of the song.
On the whole, PINS have delivered a fresh and atmospheric album drawing influences from both California and Manchester. Some of the lyrics are questionable and there is definitely a lack of emotion and sentiment to Vern’s monotone delivery. However, the tracks feel unapologetically nonchalant, indicating the band’s lack of need for approval and praise, which only adds to the confidence and slick coolness that PINS and this album exude.
‘Wild Nights’ is out now on Bella Union
You can see ‘PINS’ live at one of the following venues…
17th September 2015 – Portland Arms, Cambridge TICKETS
18th September 2015 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester TICKETS
19th September 2015 – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh TICKETS
22nd September 2015 – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham TICKETS