In a world where indie rock has become the Next Big Thing and marketing plans exist before the music, Pinback's sincerity is a joy. Zach Smith and Rob Crow have no identifiable image, no signature wardrobes or hairstyles, and they've created three albums of such peculiar pop that no major-label exec worth his annual bonus would touch them. On last year's Summer in Abaddon, songs like "Non Photo-Blue" ("She's posting all the time, but the boards are down") and "AFK" -- an oblique ode about attempting to preserve a relationship through instant messaging -- Pinback blends virtual and conventional instrumentation in a way that draws attention to neither, while the lyrics similarly reconcile the organic subtlety of human emotions with the blunt digital media often used to express them. If Joy Division became a Beach Boys tribute band (the Joy Boys?), Pinback might have been the delightfully perplexing, ingenuous result.
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