Pinback's most recent album, Summer in Abaddon, is more than a year and a half old, but it speaks volumes about the state of indie rock -- and how a bit of subtlety and ingenuity can still raise eyebrows. Whereas its counterparts pile distortion onto heaps of four-chord guitar, Pinback -- Armistead Burwell Smith IV, Rob Crow and a squad of rotating musicians -- utilizes complex song structures and clandestine melodies to create a three-dimensional sound that's as impressive in the shadows as it is in the light. But though the arrangements are lush and thick, this isn't atmospheric music -- it's rock that never lost its individuality.


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