A return to form
Returning with their fifth studio album, Pinned, this is A Place to Bury Strangers’ first release since 2013. They start their first release in five years with the spacey “Never Coming Back,” where they play with mixing to make their heavy bass and frantic drumming meld together with distant vocals to create a woozy start to their album. It’s a frenzied start and immediately pulls you in and warns you the album will be an engaging ride from start to finish.
Right after “Never Coming Back,” the equally distressed “Execution” keeps the album on its agitated path. Eerie vocals repeat “execution” over and over as the guitar and drums work to build a sense of panic set up by the album’s opening track. Loud guitars blare as the band once again utilizes distant vocals to keep you on edge, almost unsettled, as you wait for a comedown that never reveals itself. On “One Of Us,” the group melds vocals to further the sense of panic as they scream “There’s only one of us,” before falling back on their removed, solo vocal performances.
The album slows down once it hits “Situations Changes,” but it is no less committed to the overall rage of the album. On “Too Tough To Kill” and “Frustrated Operator,” the band returns to multiple vocals overlaying a strong drumming performance in a duo of songs that are the angriest on the album. These are the songs that have the most direct energy behind them as the band seemingly directs its energy right at the listener instead of utilizing the more indirect vocal performance that they do on the other songs. The album closes with “Keep Moving On,” a track that perfectly encapsulates the high-energy angst of the album. Guided by another strong drum performance, the song features the distant vocal performance the rest of the album uses so well.
This album leans heavily on distant vocals and strong drum performances and it pays off. Pinned is a great example of what a band committed to their sound can do.