An album which envisions nothing but dreariness and harrowing garage vibes, A Place To Bury Strangers have certainly brought forth a new sound with their fifth studio album, Pinned. This is one 12-piece record which will heighten your senses through twisted instrumentals, eerie vocal work and a DIY pattern which certainly captures the insanity of their music wonderfully.
Before we get started, it must be immediately said that this is definitely not a record that will suit the needs of the many. The low produced DIY style which drives the album is not only one of its largest assets, but can equally be construed as its greatest downfall, leaving some tracks feeling somewhat hollow in comparison to most records around today. However, for those who are feeling adventurous and willing to face the inner most parts of their minds, Pinned may be a rewarding experience which delivers an incredibly raw product. Tracks such as ‘Never Coming Back’ provide the initial spark to get the sound underway and does so in glorious fashion, as the track develops into its overlaying vocals, piercing guitar notes and general intensity, it creates a truly terrifying vibe which will entice and intrigue.
Oliver Ackermann’s vocals lead the record and do so well on the whole. The lyricism can be a little hit and miss at times, preaching nothing but empty messages with an unnecessary amount of distortion, however, for those tracks where Oliver does show his vocal intensity, the messages are far more powerful and truly bring forth the severity of the sound. Likewise, almost all of the album’s highest peaks come in the form of seeing his tones bounce of off fellow bandmate Lia Braswell. The contrasting formula that the two are able to create is used just the right amount throughout the record, meaning when it does pop up, it adds a great spark to the record’s ambience without feeling repetitive or monotonic.
The level of atmospherics that A Place To Bury Strangers have been able to create within these tracks is incredibly admirable. Each captures a sinister but differing vibe, ‘Situations Changes’ is one such example which creates not only a dreary, almost dungeon-like tone, but equally instils an ongoing psychedelic feel which keeps the five minute track interesting throughout. The simplistic and repetitive nature of the instrumentals bizarrely work in this track’s favour and create an almost clockwork-like feel for the dreamy vocal and guitar tones to work around. Likewise, ‘Look Me In The Eye’ provides a short but intense bit of fantastic experimentalism, the padded drum sound creates an intense sound before being hit over and over by a tidal wave of fuzzy guitar tones, it’s like taking live wire directly to the face.
All this being said, there is certainly a lot of room for improvement within this record. There are certain tracks which feel like nothing but melancholic preachings of nothing, which use the most basic of riffs over and over in order to seem interesting, but instead just end up landing flat. In this respect, it seems that A Place To Bury Strangers are certainly willing to delve into experimentalism and this certainly works in their favour. However, perhaps after five albums, the band are now being too basic in their message and production work, making the album lose any sense of further professionalism.
A Place To Bury Strangers are certainly an eclectic taste to say the least, but they have produced a record which definitely does their sound justice. Whilst it would be great to see a bit more emphasis on the weird and twisted aspects which makes their sound great, the band have been able to produce a DIY record which screams uniqueness at its core. Whilst some of these tracks may not translate too well on a recorded platform, you can certainly imagine that they would be incredible to see live. Pinned is a record which will be able to satisfy a very specific craving of wanting to hear the bizarre and psychotic and is a useful record to have in your library when you need it.