Fingertips Explores the Archives: Pinback - Fortress
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us every Friday as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Fortress" from Pinback.
While one-man bands receive more gee-whizzy attention, there is a venerable two-man band tradition in rock'n'roll as well. This isn't where the two guys play all the instruments, but where a band is formed around two core members (think Steely Dan), with supporting musicians shifting from album to album. Such is the history of San Diego's Pinback, the brainchild of bassist Armistead Burwell Smith IV (honest) and multi-instrumentalist and singer Rob Crow. From the opening bass pulse and the quick drum pick-up, the song has immediate presence and energy; Crow's pleasingly gentle vocals floating on top of the itchy and precise rhythm section help create an ambiance at once urgent and relaxed. For all of the band's impeccable indie-rock credentials, I'd say that "Fortress" brings to mind another talented two-man band straight out of rock's mainstream--Tears for Fears. Consider it a compliment: at their best Tears for Fears combined musical sophistication and pop know-how to great effect. When Crow heads for his upper register--particularly when repeating the words "Nobody move" about two and a half minutes in--I'm hearing "Mad World" in the back of my head. It's a good thing. "Fortress" comes from the CD Summer in Abaddon, released in 2004 on Touch and Go Records.
- Jeremy Schlosberg