PINS led a trident attack on an expectant Leaf Tea Shop, Getintothis’ Laurie Cheeseman found he didn’t mind these PINS in his eyes and ears.
In the wake of the rise and rise of post-punk auteurs like Savages and Iceage, PINS have had the tendency to be overlooked. Yet, after repeated outings, they’ve garnered strong support on Merseyside and following the release of their Bella Union-released debut, Girls Like Us momentum appears to be with them and anticipation is high in the city for their return.
However, before the night’s main attraction, Sankofa treat the audience to their brand of grounded, bluesy psych of the kind Liverpool does so well. You know the sort; earthy yet cosmic, gruff yet shimmering, tense yet slack. They specialise in those contradictions which is what makes them stand out from this over-saturated pool of retro-revivalists.
Sankofa at Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
With that kind of sound you’d think it’d be hard for a band like Sankofa to stand out in Merseyside yet it is their stampeding rhythm – largely down to the rumbling bass – which keeps the whole rave up from spiralling off into infinity-loop jams.
This is especially key as so often these kinds of bands are top-dollar on record yet just a bit self-congratulatory, a bit, well, precious. Not with Sankofa. With these fine chaps it just means seamless segues, endless improvs à la the UFO Club.
However, Sankofa are in complete disconnect with the rest of the evening. Where Sankofa seem best consumed in the garden on a warm summer’s eve, both September Girls and PINS rock a more monolithically industrial vibe.
In a good way of course; the total lack of posturing is refreshing absolutely, and nothing quite beats some three part harmonising, right? Considering that it’s September Girls’ first show in these parts, they certainly know how to work the crowd with their spiky riffs and deep bass resonating beautifully with the aforementioned harmonies.
September Girls at Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
Even better is that considering post-punk has been around since the year zero, it’s interesting to see how this new generation of bands are incorporating the influences of time-honoured classics (Young Marble Giants anyone?) in a far more interesting context than the Rakes or Good Shoes managed.
How many mid-00s bands managed to make a song called Heartbeats sound like a jangly Sugar Kane? Precisely.
PINS at Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool
PINS’ rudimentary, clanging take on doom-punk compliments their well-chosen tour-mates perfectly; slithering, shifting and dynamic music underlined by Neu!-levels of repetition is never going to go out of style, but by jove they need to work on their lyricism.
When a band is this tight they need to match (preferably with some deep musings on death), but what they give us is some pop-lite generalisations. Essentially, they have one foot in weird and one in MoR pop, but they really need to decide where they want to take it. Basically, make it more Bella Union, please.
Having said that, no song outstays its welcome or veers too far towards atmospherics or rock’n’roll groundedness.
From this neat middle path, exemplified by Love You For Life, they play each song like a well-oiled machine, but eventually they begin to blur into one with no single song succeeding in differentiating itself from the gloom; they lack the necessary bile or saccharine sweetness to really pack the necessary punch live. That said, there’s the kernel of a fine band at work, they just need to find a few more winners in their arsenal, and then maybe they’ll join that aforementioned select group of auteurs truly grabbing the headlines.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Nata Moraru.
Further reading on Getintothis:
PINS, Bird, Wet Mouth: Shipping Forecast, Liverpool – Picture Gallery
Mystery Jets, The Dirty Rivers, The Razz, Sankofa: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Liverpool Sound City 2013: Loved Ones, By The Sea, PINS: Anglican Cathedral, The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool