Rob Crow Living Well

Pinback’s main calling card has always been their clinical precision. It follows, then, that singer Rob Crow has typically used his myriad side-projects to explore his wackier impulses. However, Living Well, his fourth release under his own name, doesn’t veer too far from Crow’s trademark tight-rope melodies, and that’s a good thing; he does clean-cut clockwork better than almost anyone else on the indie pop horizon. What sets Living Well apart are the lyrics — where Crow is mostly absent from Pinback’s pleasantly vague narratives, the subject matter here is intensely personal. The record documents Crow’s courtship of his now-wife and the birth of their first child, both of whom are photographed along with an extensively bearded Crow in the cover art and liner notes, a stark contrast to the bleak anonymity of Pinback’s usual art. With more Pinback material due in 2007, Living Well could be regarded as a stopgap; it’s not. Its undeniable intimacy distinguishes it within Crow’s notable catalogue. (Temporary Residence)