Organic Pop Punk
Horace Pinker reminds listeners what pop punk is really all about
By Joshua Pilkington
Pop punk was not meant to be this. What was once a term used to describe bands that took hardcore punk and laced it with popular melodies has inexcusably become a reason to whine in the most obnoxious of forms (see Madden, Joel).
When did punk rock become some safe?
Horace Pinker’s Local State Inertia is pop punk in its most natural form. Stripped away are the high-pitched vocals and obligatory mentions of Long Beach, leaving the listener with a brutally sincere sound that Horace Pinker fans have grown accustomed to. The album hits hard, not in a “get out of your seat and dance” way, but rather in an unassuming way. You don’t expect to get hooked on an album like this. There is no one track that stands out among the rest. There are no “paint-by-number” sing-alongs or salient solos; yet, by the time 32-minute run time is up, you find yourself so engrossed you’re ready to do it all over again.
Then again that is Horace Pinker: an unassuming band that leaves you wanting more.
The Chicago-based trio never breaches the trust of its loyal followers with Local State Inertia. Rather, what they’ve managed to do with their first full-length release since 2005’s Texas One Ten is find that perfect balance between the somber tones of Face to Face’s Ignorance is Bliss and the angst of Samiam’s Clumsy.
The album kicks off with its title track “Local State Inertia,” which sets the tone for the entire record with fist-pounding drumming from Bryan Jones and excellent vocal harmonies.
“Placebo Effect” is crisp track that leads off with some heart-racing opening riffs that lead you to believe it will offer something in the realm of unrestrained, chaotic power punk, but the reigns are pulled in quickly – keeping the track in line with the rest of the album.
A band that’s been around for over 20 years is destined to release some material that sounds like something you’ve heard on previous albums. “Less of You” is that track. It’s an easy listen: a smooth, fun and infectious track that could very well have found a place on one of the band’s previous releases.
With “No Frequency,” Horace Pinker flexes its muscles for what could be the best track of an album where each track bares its weight. Guitarist and vocalist Scott Eastman puts on display his vocal range going from furious to baritone playing tenor (a difficult measure to pull off by any standard).
“Works and Days” includes the best bass line of the album. It echoes Scott Shiflett, but Greg Mytych’s bass is still unique enough on its own to captivate the listener. “Catch Twenty-Two” is the best self-description through music Horace Pinker could give to itself: “Some change and you stayed the same…”
Local State Inertia is the quintessential album for fans of the darker side of melodic punk. It won’t blow you away, open your eyes or have any other hyperbolic effect on you. It will simply do what Horace Pinker has been doing the last 20 years: entertain.
Local State Inertia was released May 29, 2012 is available on vinyl from Jump Start Records from the link below or you can stream the entire album and get it digitally on the bands Bandcamp Page.
Follow: @HoracePinker @JumpStartRecs