In The Pines — Slow Blink — Album Review
Psychedelic Rock | Indie Rock
In an effort to surpass even the amount of music reviews I had created over 2020, I decided to create a pledge of sorts, where in the case that I don’t have a project to review, I will actively find one.
With my review for the amazing Bob’s Son done and dusted, I had the time to seek out more projects through Album Of The Year, and their new releases page.
Sifting through the cluster of projects that had already been released in 2021, it still didn’t take me to long to discover this project from a band called In The Pines, in which all I had to go off of was the intriguing and eye-catching album cover that it has.
But sifting over this project, the warm and psychedelic nature of this album not only gave it the aura as an album that will put listeners in the “excited for summer” mindframe, but also an album that I was instantly interested in reviewing.
Besides which, Slow Blink is the sophomore album from the psychedelic rock four-piece that is In The Pines, following their 2018 debut. And given that, as I’m writing this review, the band have just over seven-thousand monthly listeners on Spotify, I wanted to see if I could up that number, even slightly, by spreading the word of this album’s existence. Besides which, it definitely sounded like a praise-worthy record upon my initial skim-through.
Being my first introduction to the band, I was of course unfamiliar with how they sounded. But I honestly found In The Pines to be a greatly accessible band for any indie rock lover. If you’re a fan of The Black Keys, Foals, Smashing Pumpkins, or even Protomartyr, you’ll likely find Slow Blink to perhaps be your first loved project of 2021. And much like Protomartyr managed to do on Ultimate Success Today (my favourite album of 2020), In The Pines adeptly fuse a warm and festive indie rock sound, with saxophone, to create an incredibly infectious feel. Buth in the case of In The Pines, there’s also a little tinge of Britpop thrown in there for good measure too.
And as much as I wanted to be marginally more critical this year, I was finding very little wrong with this record. It felt clear to me, that In The Pines put their heart into this album, and wanted the listener to truly feel its sound. And honestly, it’s sense of engagement is close to that which some of the best indie rock projects I have heard carried.
And indeed, my hunch was correct; Slow Blink really does burst with that aura of an exciter for summer, with its consistently warm and joyous feel, which is either embellished with a sense of engagement, or a soothing ambience.
I would have to say, however, that the best of what this album offers lies sandwiched in-between both the opening and closing tracks. In the case of the albums opener, “Hullabaloo”, it felt clear to me that In The Pines wanted this one to feel like the most accessible of the bunch. But as a result, a lot of potential uniqueness seems to have been sacrificed for a less complex sound.
And as for the instrumental closer that is “Rapture”, I could see their intent with having this track be a dynamic finale of sorts, and they at least succeeded in having the penultimate track “Reborn” transition smoothly into it. But much like how I felt towards Moses Sumney’s “Conveyor” and “boxes”, I felt that both “Reborn” and “Rapture” should have just been one big final song, and would’ve given me far less reason to remove “Rapture” from my downloaded songs.
But other than the opening and closing tracks, everything else wowed me enough for me to eagerly await my next opportunity to listen to them, and as the warmer days begin to creep in, I imagine that this album is only going to grow on me even more that it already has.
For those who were unaware of In The Pines prior to reading this review, I would strongly recommend giving them a listen, especially if you are in need of a fresh indie-rock project to sink your teeth into.
Favourite Tracks: The Sun | Naked Eye | Reborn
Least Favourite Track: Hullabaloo
Soul Step Records
Enjoyment: 9/10 | Memorability: 8/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10
Uniqueness: 7/10 | Satisfaction: 8/10 | Narrative: 6/10