Like a washed-up seashell, each new Pinback album sounds exquisitely empty on a first listen. That hollowness resonates, though, and on Pinback's fourth full-length, Autumn Of The Seraphs, the band has crafted yet another delicate indie-pop bauble. Finely spun as it is, there's a hint of sinew: "Barnes" and "Devil You Know" are strung along by brittle hooks and chiseled beats, while "Blue Harvest" receives The Police's "Message In A Bottle" loud and clear. Pinback co-leaders Rob Crow and Zach Smith seem to be pushing toward a colder, cleaner sound this time around: Their choirboy harmonies interlock mechanistically, even as the usual oceanic imagery surfaces over acoustic swirls and bits of digital sequencing. Closing the disc is "Off By 50," which seems for a moment like it might drag Pinback headlong into Crow's love of heavy metal—he does, after all, have a side-project called Goblin Cock—but the song quickly ditches the dinosaur guitars and cranks up the fluttery piano. And that's about as meaty as Seraph gets; thankfully, its fragile textures and wispy melancholy work up a substantial roar all their own.
More from The A.V. Club