Critical Voices: Pinact, The Part That No One Knows

September 4, 2017

Marking their first work as a newly minted trio, The Part That No One Knows is Pinact’s second album under the Brooklyn-based record company Kanine Records. With the addition of bassist Jon Arbuthnott alongside original members vocalist Corrie Gilles and drummer Lewis Reynolds, the album shows impressive growth from their first album. What sets The Part That No One Knows apart from Pinact’s previous work is a stronger focus on vocals and new lyrical themes.

After the album opens with a piano introductory track that hits the listener with a reminiscing, repetitive beat, the second song, “Bring You Down,” immediately switches towards heavy guitar riffs and unrelenting drumming typical to the group. Gilles’ melodies are highlighted through contrasting instrumental breaks and balanced mastering, particularly on tracks like “Separate Ways” and “Seams.”

Instead of vocals taking second place to the instrumentals, philosophical themes focusing on questions of what is relevant in producing music and living life lyrically come to the forefront. With reverberating lines like, “I’ll never be who you thought that I would/I’ll never do what you thought I could/I never thought we would get so far” (“Oh”), Gilles questions expectations and self-reflections about the surprise of success as if he is addressing a foregone scorned love.

In a recent interview with The Skinny, Arbuthnott explained that the difficulties of producing a quality album weighed heavily on the central message of the work, saying,

“…I think now, in the Spotify generation, we just listen to a record and if we don’t like it, we skip it or we go on to something else… but people [have] put their emotion and heart into it and spent a long time on it.”

This strong message is clear in production details of the music: the painful lingering of the guitar fret noise on tracks like “Regrettable Thrill” and “Bughouse” creeps in the air and hits the ear like a Brillo pad to an iron pan. It is these details that distort the listener’s view of the music and sweep them into the rebellious message that a successful music career is not as simple as may seem. Through strong lyrics and hard hitting guitar effects, the band achieves a musical impression like a freshly caught fish thrashing against the pavement, seeking freedom and control. Lines like “And now it’s right in front of you, is that just what they’ve been telling you?” (“Bring You Down”) make it hard not to wonder if the band is sending a message about their laborious efforts and raising considerations of maintaining an independent identity in the middle of the music industry. (tramadol)

Overall, the band manages to hit the sweet spot of having their first and second albums sound like cousins rather than overly-close, claustrophobic siblings, and there’s a continuity in the sound and flavor of the music that prevents it from becoming stale. The result of this new collaboration may produce side effects like high-energy head bobbing and regrettable hairbrush lip synching. One thing is clear: amidst previous covers of Nirvana, Pinact is evolving and carving out their own space in the punk-fusion realm of modern music.

Voice’s Choices: “Seams,” “Forever”

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