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Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Pins and Needles- Pins and Needles


Artist: Pins and Needles
CD Title: Pins and Needles
Label: self-released
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/5/05

Pins and Needles' self-titled 13-song debut finds the band competently tearing through an amalgamation of classic 80s post-punk and 90s goth rock with additional new wave influences, sometimes with strong political and social themes. Their work will likely spark a case of déjà vu in goth fans new and old, from the archetypal goth rock vocals to its bass-driven sound…even down to the timbre of its guitar feedback. Its sonic familiarity is, perhaps, enhanced by the fact that the album was notably produced by Bari-Bari of Mephisto Walz and Christian Death fame. Familiar or not, however, it's a solid set that finds Pins and Needles taking a classic goth rock formula and making it their own.

The energetic "Specimen" kicks things off with a nice feedback wash before morphing into an energetic, bass-driven number with excellent delayed guitar work, particularly on the chorus, before the slower, punchy intro of "Isabella" gives way to its true calling as an up-tempo, riff-driven rocker. "H-Bomb" nicely blends energy and atmosphere, its steady drums, bass anchor, and sharp chorus balanced by moody echoing rhythm guitar. "T.A.G" is a speedy energetic post-punk number with a great, slightly epic bridge and more notable lead guitar work. Contrarily, the band takes a stab at the two-chord heavy goth rock ballad on "Narcotic" and pulls it off nicely.

The album once again picks up tempo with the great bass riffing and anthemic chorus of "Asylum". "Time" is the disc's requisite semi-eastern synth riff number, albeit an excellent one with a great snarled vocal on the chorus and a killer noise guitar solo, before the bouncy opening synth of "Better off Dead" takes things in a slightly poppy, more new wave-oriented direction. It's a directional turn that the disc-closing "Night Life", musically-but-not-lyrically upbeat, also takes.

The politically themed "Control" is a slower track with some spectacular early Cure-esque, snaking delayed guitar work, followed by "Fear", its phasing rhythm guitar and lead guitar cascades enveloping the bass for a nicely atmospheric track with a strong chorus despite its odd exclusion from the album's lyric book. All ears are on the melodic bass hooks, sometimes doubled on lead guitar, that provide the skeletal frame of "Nostalgia", while "Stalker", its title pretty much summing up its subject matter, provides the album's last explosive burst of energy.

In the end, Pins and Needles' self-titled debut is an album that many goth rock fans will almost swear they've heard before, whether it be in the 80s or 90s, but also one that's far more than an homage to the past. Rather, it's a fairly strong outing that rarely strays from, but nicely captures and distills the best elements of, its influences, creating a straightforward, energetic album that will likely be very much appreciated by fans of both early post-punk and modern goth rock.

 

Pins and Needles on myspace: www.myspace.com/pinsandneedles

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