SLOW AND CRAFTY Pinsky.
Pinsky don't seem to be in any kind of hurry. Roughly three years following their first EP, the intriguing Two for the Road (with a two-song release mixed in last year), the four-piece are ready with a debut full-length on Sinking Ship Records. Losing Touch is worth the wait. Clearly, the band have used the time to craft and fine-tune songs that are planted firmly in the emo-rock legacy, but that evince an attention to detail and artful touch that separate them from simple genre pieces.
Best about the band are the give-and-take vocals of Pete Vachon and Jeff Roberts, the rare duo who manage to not fall into a lead-singer/backing-singer paradigm, even within songs, but manage to come across simply as two singers both working on the same song, with different roles. They sing like they play guitar, each throwing out riffs, intertwining with one another, being supportive when the other wanders out on a limb.
Both balance on the edge of scream and sing, cracking and warbling at times in ways that must leave them red-faced (it's emo, after all), but the overarching vibe is one of comforting melody and an endearing desire for you to like them. They love to sing about their friends, address girlfriends new and old, create an intimate space you sometimes feel a little uncomfortable intruding upon.
"Half Full" is the best of the 10 tracks here, hard charging in the open, but then dialing back to a couple of harmonics and a plea: "I want to talk to you again/So pleaaaaaasssssseeeeee/Be my friend." Michael Graton's bass lick here is a great hook, and it's hard not to like how they riff on the central line of "it's about how you laugh it off," letting Vachon's voice try any number of ways of letting those words escape his mouth.
The production is surprisingly light-touched, too, so you often feel right in the room with them, and Andre Tranchemontagne's drums are mixed low and clean (some might say thin) so that the songs are approachable. Like you could sit among them, even as they're playing at full bore. When there's a cutaway to just a naked snare and the chunked guitars in the opening "Losing Touch," the lack of reverb makes it all the more stark.
They get kind of proggy in their guitar noodlings, as in the opening of "Hesitation" or in the backing of the closing "States," resembling Built to Spill at times with the guitar focus. The rhythm can be halting and staccato, which may leave you a little edgy and anxious.
But that's the goal. They take up 2:16 to tell you to "fuck monotony," with their most aggressive and shouted vocals, but make sure to let you know, "I'm happier than you think." It's a pretty common sentiment that those who sing the most about violence and aggressiveness are often the most gentle and level-headed in real-life. There might be something to the fact that those who write most about heartache and loss are those that grieve the least and live life the most.