27 November 2016

Pinegrove - Cardinal

Pinegrove are an American Alternative Country/Rock band from Montclair, New Jersey and they have been going since 2010.  They self-released their first album 'Meridian' in 2012, have released a few EP's and a compilation albums called 'Everything So Far' in 2015 (which was re-released by current label Run for Cover as well with two new songs.  'Cardinal' was released in February 2016 (or June if you look at the Bandcamp page - Wikipedia might be lying there) and the main reason they came to my attention is I was asked to attended their show at Think Tank! Newcastle upon Tyne (you can read my review here).  It was a great show and I was impressed by how relaxed and chilled the band were and how their music came across.  If it was not for various system problems, this review would have been up a lot sooner.  Anyway, I will be looking at the original eight track release, there is an extended release as well.

01 - Old Friends

Starting off the album is 'Old Friends', a song about revisiting old haunts, losing touch and regrets; it is a slow song with some beautiful moments and it reminds me of Counting Crows and Cracker, it definitely has a late 1990's edge to the sound and it's melancholy feeling and sad demeanour is catching.  I really like it, sometimes you need songs that are sad, just as you need songs that are happy.

02 - Cadmium

A song with hidden meanings and cryptic words, this song has one of the biggest hooks on the album and it was a highlight for me at the Think Tank! gig with made the hair on my neck stand on end.  It is one of the highlights on this album, it is a beautiful number that makes have some beautiful words, a tune that stays with you and a performance that would put a lot of other bands to shame.

03 - Then Again

A song about having panic attacks whilst travelling, the anxiety of those situation and how it can be so ridiculous.  This is something I can identify with as I am a terrible person to share an airplane flight with, cannot stand it and need to be either medicated or have a drink before I will even get on the plane.  It is a fast pace Alt. Rock number that run past you with an urgency that is akin to the lyrics, with a heavier guitar and a hard-hitting performance on the drums as well.

04 - Aphasia

Another cryptic number, is it about a lover? Is it about a town?  Is it about the band itself?  I would love to be able to give you an answer, but what I can say is that it is a passionate song, with a loose hook that carries the words forward, the vocals are beautifully mixed in and the sliding guitar is a nice addition to this number.  One of my favourite on the album, I just wish I knew what or who Aphasia was/is....

05 - Visiting

Anxiety, drugs and love are the main themes of 'Visiting', a loud number for this album which opens with a gentle strumming of the guitar, some drumstick clicking and then it builds up the pace and then it has this explosion of energy, but it drops its pace at the middle without much warning.  After that it slowly builds all the pace back up to the chorus and the fade out at the end.  For me, this song is a filler and not as good as others on here; not a bad track, but the others are better for my money.

06 - Waveform

A song about finding someone to share the outside with you, this number pulls on the heartstrings with a moody and slow Alt. Country sound that will be making the dark nights of the soul feel a little less lonely.  It has a beautiful chorus hook and it is one I instantly connected with, it speaks of winter and those days when you are walking with your soul mate who is just as strange as you; beautiful and well worth playing more than once, twice or even thrice.

07 - Size of the Moon

Waiting for something to happen, feeling that your decisions are wrong and being afraid are the stories to this song, it is a beautiful number with more Alt. Country mixed with Alt. Rock sensibilities as well.  It is a great number that gives a small circle of joy to a sad situation, definitely one of those numbers that will be a world beater for some people and I can see why it has received so much praise on the Bandcamp page for the album.

08 - New Friends

Ending the track with a song about looking around and finding out that you do not really know anyone, resolving to make some new friends after making some terrible choices and trying not to make the same mistakes.  I like the music, a mixture of Semisonic, Counting Crows and all mixed with their own passion; It is a great way to end the album, such a good song from Pinegrove.

This album is over far too soon and thankfully there is an extended version, but as always, I do review the standard versions of any album.  It is a moody piece when you dig into the lyrics, it is also one with hidden meanings and what one person takes from the words, another will hear something completely different.  I adore the music, the vocals, the effortless ease of the music; it all comes together to create such a beautiful combination that it brings a little light into the world.  One of the gentlest albums of the year and one that makes quite a big impact as well.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track - Cadmium

You can purchase one of the versions of Cardinal on Amazon here.

You can purchase Cardinal from the Pinegrove Bandcamp page here.

You can visit the Pinegrove Facebook page here.

You can stream Cardinal on Deezer here.

You can stream Cardinal on Spotify here.

You can stream Cardinal on Tidal here.

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