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The Daily Tar Heel

Music Review: ‘The Pinkerton Raid’

In their self-titled debut album, The Pinkerton Raid presents a collection of songs that reach a level of mastery in communication between band members that is unusual in debut albums.

The songs on the album are well produced and polished, unlike the work some folk bands produce that lean towards low-fi recording techniques.

From the full, drawn-out notes that make up the rhythm to the crisp, short notes that make up the more pronounced riffs, every instrument can be heard clearly.

The bass and drum combo that becomes almost jazzy at times is accentuated well by the insertion of simple yet powerful rock guitar riffs and piano. These simple riffs and the rhythm sections come together perfectly in “Those Curves,” a spacey rock song with jazz undertones.

The Pinkerton Raid successfully “hugs the curves” of the road between a lack and an excess of sound.

Lyrically, songwriter Jesse James DeConto spends time developing stories with his lyrics and avoids the pitfall of getting lost in philosophy.

In the middle of these stories, songs like “Piano Queen” become fully entertaining and it is easy for the listener to become completely involved.

In “Piano Queen” DeConto tells the story of his strange interaction with a pianist. He doesn’t get lost in why the interaction was so strange, but instead tells an entertaining story full of all the details that a listener wants to know.

“Piano Queen” is one of most well put together songs on the album. Thought-provoking lyrics and melodic music meet in the middle of the song to create one of the most enjoyable fusions on the album.

Music and lyrics also come together well in the songs, “Like a Brother” and “Santa Rosa.”

However, the power of the music on this album often outweighs the value of the lyrics. At times, it seems like the lyrics are attempting to impress a meaning on songs that just isn’t there.

The symbolism in “The Bullfrog” and “Those Curves” is a little too obvious at times and is so easily deciphered that the songs start to seem shallow.

In a few songs, emphasis is taken off a song’s story and placed on its symbolism, and more time is spent trying to enforce the validity of the symbolism.

The Pinkerton Raid proves a level of creativity with this debut album that could easily spill over into future albums.

Attempts at inserting artificial meaning take away from the value of songs such as “The Bullfrog” and “Those Curves,” but as a whole this album is both lyrically and musically entertaining.

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