Systems Officer Systems Officer

What happens when you separate the two halves of Pinback? Well, we know Rob Crow is great on his lonesome, and sounds a lot like Pinback. So it must be his influence that guides the duo, right? Think again, and check this, the first solo EP from the second half, Armistead Burwell Smith IV (aka Zach), who, on his own, sounds just like Pinback. It’s uncanny. And it’s confusing, too, but it’s still alright because Pinback have a good thing going. Their take on indie rock has always held that indescribable it that gives a piece of art what it needs to float above the rest and feel special. The notes here, all played and arranged by Zach, combine in a familiar way — to the uninitiated, as well as to Pinback fans — that has the ability to hold every inch of attention, at least for a moment. His guitar lines are melancholy, but reassuring and practiced, with every track leading to the relieving end-of-movie-feeling "Hael.” Whether or not Rob and Zach will ever be able to branch outside of this sound is another question, but when it already feels right, does that matter? And hey, do you think maybe they’re really the same guy? (Ace Fu)