With 2004's Summer in Abaddon, Rob Crow and Zach Smith cemented Pinback's reputation as the most misty-eyed and oblique indie-pop band ever. Now Crow spreads his beautifully erratic wings in his gazillionth side project, the Ladies, an experiment that finds him paired with Zach Hill, the maniacal drummer and polyrhythm junkie from the Zappa-fied rock duo Hella. Hard to say what Crow's thing is about guys named Zach, but the collaboration works. Hill's Buddy-Rich-in-a-hall-of-mirrors drumming style turns up the crazy dial on Crow's multi-faceted rock, resulting in a sound that retains Hella's chaotic impishness and Pinback's trademark melodiousness. Hella fans might be a little disappointed by the linearity and accessibility of most of the compositions. But the average Pinbacker will probably feel like he just got home after a long day to find all of his furniture surreptitiously rearranged according to the principles of feng shui -- disoriented, but in a remarkably harmonious way.
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