Anyone who has bore witness to a Pinact live show will testify to the band’s pulverising charms, as this is a duo always defies the numbers to produce a sound spiked with corrosive volume, sweetened with heartening melodies.
Thus far, their slender output of EP’s and split singles has been a fine distillation of these forces, and with the release of their first LP, Stand Still and Rot, they have produced a piece of work that fully realises their significant talents.
What characterises the Pinact experience on first listen, be it onstage or on record, is the sheer volume and energy that Corrie Gillies (guitar/vocals) and Chris McCrory (drums) summon between them, however what ultimately prevails is the warmth that runs through the material, showing that for all the noise these guys make, they do so with good and noble intentions.
The album announces itself in blistering fashion with the mostly instrumental title track, which highlights the dynamic, expressive nature of the band’s sound and textures, with their restless vision summed up in the song’s only lyrics: “if we stand still, we’re gonna rot”.
What follows are eleven songs full of bluster and grace, which explore notions of uncertainty, joy, boredom and the decisions we find ourselves making, all of which were staples of such beloved bands like the Replacements, Husker Du and the Ramones, each of whom you can hear shades of here, far more so than the often referenced Nirvana and Sonic Youth.
First single ‘Anxiety’ finds its feet on fast and loud punk riffs, delivering pounding rhythm and tuneful chord changes in equal measure, while offering cautious and half hearted reassurance in lines, such as “I don’t feel so hopeless anymore.” and “now I think I’ve got my head straight”, all of which is tied up neatly in a hook filled chorus, for which these guys evidently have an ear for.
‘Scars’ is another blast of insistent and loud song-craft, this time with a sweeter sounding guitar riff but the same cautious optimism to the lyrics; “despite the weather, I’m getting better” Gillies states with a spring in his step, before regressing slightly in the chorus where he asks: “what can you do when you know it’s gonna fall apart?”
The album is full of instantly likeable and catchy moments, loads of classy touches from two well drilled, discerning musicians, who obviously gel so well together; the staggered fills and coasting riffs on ‘Into the One’; the instrumental and vocal volatility of ‘Negative Thoughts and Jealousy’; the bright, neon lit textures of ‘Novembore’ and tons more, including more hooks and big choruses than you can shake a stick at.
Since seeing Pinact for the first time a while back at Tut’s (first on the bill!) and being instantly smitten, I’ve been keeping a close eye on them, hoping that they would soon deliver an album that lived up to the joyous, uplifting sound I heard that night; an album which, in my head, sounded exactly like this.
Words: Brendan Sloan