Rob Crow and Zach Smith embody both the simple and the mysterious in Pinback, the band they formed in the late '90s in San Diego. "Barnes," from 2007's Autumn of the Seraphs, wraps sparse-toned bass and guitar lines around jerking, syncopated rhythms. "His Phase," from the new Information Retrieved, boasts economy and grace that could be mistaken for slightness. These songs are equally typical of the band's approach: not determined to be difficult or cryptic, but not content to merely crank out hooks. The resulting body of work has proven so fascinating and bewildering because it echoes the gentlest indie-pop and the most difficult post-punk simultaneously.
Appropriately, I had an odd conversation with Crow before Pinback's Nov. 18 show at the High Noon Saloon.
How has your approach to writing changed in the five years since Autumn of the Seraphs?
See, that's the funny thing about making stuff; it's difficult to explain how to really do it. "It's been five years since you had lasagna. Is there anything different about the way you ate that lasagna today?"
Information Retrieved feels more upbeat and less tense than your previous work, especially on the opening track, "Proceed to Memory." Why do you think that is?
We tried to incorporate the shared experience, so maybe it isn't as claustrophobic, and there's maybe more energy. When we play live, we're trying to make it sound like sitting somebody down and having a conversation with them. Now we're just trying to take the same person we've had all these conversations with...and go to the bouncy house. It's like, "We've been friends forever; now let's go have fun."
On Information, the song that sticks out the most, lyrically speaking, is "Denslow, You Idiot!" What can you reveal about this Denslow character?
There's a lot of stuff about the album that I'm not going to tell anybody for at least a year, and that's one of them, but there are hints and things laid out all over the place. But I will tell you everything in that song is 100% historically accurate.