If you’re a frequent reader, you may have heard the name Pinsky before – namely when we teamed up with Sinking Ship Records to post a stream of their single, “Losing Touch.” If that wasn’t enough to warrant looking them up, hopefully this is; the Portland, Maine-native four-piece have released their debut album, Losing Touch, and it’s a must-listen for those with indie-punk inclinations.
In exploring a scene that doesn’t have strong musicianship as a prerequisite, it is refreshing to come across bands that have it anyway. Pinsky falls under this category, and they use Losing Touch to showcase that fact. Here, guitars are a high point. Peter Vachon and Jeffrey Roberts deviate from standard tuning, which too many bands rut themselves into, and instead use alternate tunings to create a unique sonic atmosphere (which can be heard in tracks like “Half Full”). Complex runs in “Hesitation” come off as tasteful instead of noodle-y or mindless.
Moreover, Vachon’s and Roberts’ voices blend well, making back-and-forth vocals effectively but also making their parts sometimes difficult to distinguish between. Michael Graton’s bass fills stray from wankery in all its forms and instead stay unobtrusive throughout. Not only that, but they are classy as shit. His melodic quirks add an extra dimension to songs, as is apparent at the end of “View Finder.” Andre Tranchemontagne’s drums aren’t as complicated as, say, his name, but they are dynamic and powerful nonetheless. He also wins brownie points from me for using rim click fills, for which I am a huge sucker.
Losing Touch is in many ways a grower. While there are a few songs on the album that simply don’t stand out, after three or four listens the rest latch on to your brain like Chiaotzu does to Nappa in the first season of Dragon Ball Z. Except, thankfully, they don’t explode. In addition to the impressive guitar lines and awesome rim clicks previously mentioned, “Hesitation” features not-so-obvious chorus/verse transitions, thereby forcing me to remember more than just the chorus. Well played, Pinsky. “The Only Ones” is equal parts aggressive and heartrending, while also earning the distinction of having the most memorable chorus on the album. If you happen to catch Pinsky at the next Punchline show you attend, don’t be surprised to hear at least a few shouting, “It’s rough to know that we’ve become the only ones that aren’t six feet down,” because after a few listens, it’s pretty hard not to.
The twangy guitars and gloomy feel of “Half Full” bring The Underground is a Dying Breed-era Hot Rod Circuit to mind. What’s more, its alternating time signatures do their part in keeping listeners on their toes. “The Ocean” features the finest of quite a few build-ups on Losing Touch. What begins with slow, chugging guitars transitions into an airy, piano-laced bridge which finally crescendos into a colossal ending with hardcore grit. A true closing track, “States” is driving and unforgettable, featuring chillingly raw harmonies and an awesome guitar solo. If as an opening track “Losing Touch” sought to encompass what the album was about, “States” wraps that theme up like the last, open-ended, makes-you-think paragraph in an essay. But I hate essays, so I’ll stop comparing Pinsky to one.
Pinsky prove with their debut album that they have staying power. Between thoughtful lyricism and top-notch instrumentation, they have the means for success. And yet, attaining longevity in the scene is a crapshoot. So, perhaps make an investment. Losing Touch, for whatever missteps it may take, is worth the pocket money.