Following over a year of underground sell out shows and now shadowed by an army of avid admirers, Manchester’s finest female foursome PINS finally release their much anticipated debut album ‘Girls Like Us’.
Having followed the band for a while now, changes have been both frequent and aplenty, as the band marched their way around the UK and Europe delivering and developing their performances night after night. The struggle was always going to be transferring such a spirited and intelligent live show onto record.
From the outset, it’s clear that Holgate and co. decided to go all out attack with the record, and opening track ‘It’s On’ welcomes listeners with swirling distorted guitars, dark harmonies and waving fists. The title track is full of scuzzy reverb brooding against fighting, chanted lyrics; a crescendo of thudding drums building up to a battling finale. The charm of the band lies heavily in their kins(wo)manship, with a steely togetherness and gritted teeth punk attitude. They’re a gang who will use their guitars to blow you into a million little pieces.
‘Play With Fire’ is one of a few interludes scattered throughout the fast paced album, placed as respite amongst an abbreviated album that just scrapes the 30 minute mark.
‘I Want It All’ follows up with assured and assertive vocals, thudding drums and trademark curious harmonies. Faith’s seductive lyrics and wild wailing pull together a brawling clarion of a track.
Keeping up the pace is ‘Waiting For The End’; an upbeat 2 minute cracker with a brighter, jangly feel. See, PINS can be nice!
Don’t be fooled, though, ‘Howlin’ opens with a hazy gravelly Joy Division rasp; the live, unpolished recording a valiant attempt to retain the underground grungy atmosphere.
In a stylistic twist of events, ‘Velvet Morning’ is a spoken word interval of Donigan’s beautiful Mancunian twang against a track rewind and offbeat drums, showing off another side of PINS. Imaginative without straying into the pretentious.
‘Stay True’ is a 3 minute howling onslaught, an intense and visceral gem that sees PINS at their menacing peak, from Sophie Galpin’s heavy crashing drums to queen of blitzkrieg riffs Lois MacDonald’s wailing guitar masterpiece.
The contemplative finale ‘Darkest Day’ is an uncensored nod to their Mancunian ancestry, and it’s hard not to draw comparisons to the fuzzy late 80’s with that simple rolling bassline. Faith’s sensual vocals come to the fore here; dark and invitingly dangerous.
It would have been good to hear some tracks off the earlier EPs make it onto the album; Shoot You/Eleventh Hour/LUVU4LYF but nonetheless, the noir-pop princesses have shown that they’re ready to fight their way to the next level. ‘Girls Like Us’ is solid, honest and quickfire; a simple without being safe formula developed over the last 18 months which they have stuck to, and it works.
…Adam has been listening to Drenge – Backwaters…