Garage rock seemed a better bet, but acts like the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, and Modest Mouse have made the case that indie pop, not rock, is the next "thing." If so, expect Pinback to come through the door and establish itself ahead of the legions of wanna-bes and pretenders that've already flooded the garage. Formed in San Diego a year later than the Shins, in 1998, Pinback's built around Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell Smith IV, who, with a rotating cast of backing musicians, have crafted some of the most sophisticated guitar pop of the year on their third album, Summer in Abaddon. Digesting the lessons of post-rock and post-punk, the arrangements have a taut precision that has a certain churning quality like math rock, but is far, far more melodically driven, with a sleepy infectiousness that's reminiscent of Modest Mouse. Though not as full-bodied sonically, Pinback's shuffling pop ambles with the grace of Built to Spill and the beauty of an October twilight, the last shivers of sunset illuminating the leaves' fall colors, a final reminder of warmth before winter drains the pigment from the world.
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