With bands like Ex Hex and Savages achieving success, there’s no shortage of fantastic girl led rock n’ roll bands around. But a fierce and heavy hitting four-piece band hailing from Manchester called PINS is one of most promising to come along in a while. For those who aren’t familiar, PINS isn’t your typical retro rock girl-group; their influences range from the jangle fuzz of The Jesus and Mary Chain to poppy thunderous pop/rock of Hole. Two years after releasing their debut album Girls Like Us, and fresh off of a UK tour in which they opened for legendary punk rockers Sleater-Kinney – the band return with their moody sophomore album Wild Nights (Bella Union). With this second effort, Faith Holgate and company build upon their signature dark drone filled sound. The band drips with a daring dark coolness that would make Lou Reed nod in approval.
The rhythmically chugging ‘Baby Bhangs’ opens the album with a fuzzy guitar riff and chorus that reaches for arena ceilings. Holgate’s slightly sassy off the cuff vocal delivery oozes a playful confidence that few of her contemporaries can muster. On the following track, ‘Young Girls’ the band offers up a tasty slice of indie pop. The drone and jangle infused ‘Curse These Dreams’ combines the hypnotic elements of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with the lyrical expressions that may remind some of Best Coast. Drummer Sophie Galpin’s booming toms root the bobbing and sludgy ‘Too Little Too Late.’ Galpin wisely picks up the pace near the track’s conclusion, as the band bursts into a glorious double-time freak-out. The sedated chamber blues of ‘Got it Bad’ is filled with beautiful background vocals, and simple but effective lyrics from Holgate. The production on the track’s cascading outro showcases the band’s progression from their first album.
As the album’s title suggests, these songs detail the angst, the joy, and the uncertainty of life in your twenties. The smoky and dynamic ‘Oh Lord’ is wound up tight with sexual tension, but the band masterfully releases this tension in the song’s chorus with a Pixies-eqsue verve. The similarly dark hovering ‘House of Love’ may remind some of The Velvet Underground with its rhythmic simplicity and fixed guitar riff-age. Elsewhere, PINS display their playful side on the breezy and melodic ‘Dazed By You. The girl-group inspired ‘Molly’ is poppy, but is perhaps the album’s most experimental track with its eerie and lush instrumental break. ‘Everyone Says’ closes the album on a stripped back note. Holgate’s voice has never seemed so fragile and personal.
Wild Nights is built for long nights in dim basements filled with sweat, smoke, and cheap beer. “I don’t know what to do with myself,” Holgate states on the album’s best song – the surf-tinged ‘If Only,’ which features a timeless chord progression and the album’s most memorable melody. Often your twenties are filled uncertainty and anxiety, but PINS transform these feelings into a gritty confidence. “What will we do, when our dreams come true”, ponders Holgate on the understated but anthemic chorus of ‘Young Girls.’ Well, with Wild Nights it already sounds like they are living the dream, and it just might get a little bigger with songs as good as these.