ALBUM REVIEW: A Place To Bury Strangers “Pinned”

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS "Pinned" album cover

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS “Pinned” album cover

Pinned Available now on Dead Oceans Records is the 5th album from NYC noise merchants A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS) and their first to feature new member drummer and vocalist Lia Simone Braswell.

Pinned may be the most focused APTBS album thus far. Pinned finds APTBS coaxing melodies and dare I say it hooks out of the witches’ brew of noise they are justifiably famous for and putting those melodies and hooks front and center in the mix.

This may be partly due to founding member and chief song writer Oliver Ackerman being forced to move from the artist’s workshop Death By Audio where he lived and wrote all previous APTBS albums and finding himself in an apartment surrounded by neighbors and the attendant noise restrictions that entails. Or as he sums it up, “It had to be about writing a good song and not about being super sonically Loud.” Whatever the impetus the songs are here and they are strong.

“Never Coming Back” opens Pinned in strong fashion with Dion Lundon’s (formerly of Aussie rockers D4) heavy surging bass and spooky chanted group vocals (welcome aboard Ms.Braswell and nice job) immediately set the tone for the album; one of laser urgency and razor sharp purpose. There are no extra notes floating around here. They are few and sharp and to the point. Like a good hardboiled detective story there is no fat to them.

“There’s Only One Of Us” features a catchy hook of a guitar riff, almost oriental in feel, and again great backing vocals by Braswell who is a very welcome addition to the overall sound of the band. All this ear candy floats over a bed of feedback that might melt plastic and would certainly melt your eardrum. This is still a band that knows how to strangle a guitar after all, hooks or no hooks.

Pinned sounds like a statement album from a band that is naturally evolving to the next level of their career. They sound poised and ready for bigger stages, bigger audiences and bigger songs. But long time fans need not fret. They brought along plenty of their trademark noise, tension and feedback for the ride. Only now it’s the song that comes first before everything else.