Sometimes the new EP from Pinkest sounds like it is at odds with itself. This is not a criticism; it’s merely an observation. There are times when it basks in the lazy glaze of soporific slacker rock and then there are others — opening gambit “The Spine” and “Superhero Song” specifically — when the band’s four-on-the-floor energy makes it seem like they’re getting ready to tear at the seams. Neither approach is innately better than the other, and the fact that the group can delve into both is certainly impressive. But the question remains about what type of record You Are a Camera wants to be.
First and foremost, it’s a guitar and hook-driven record; i.e. the sort of fun, rowdy, stereo-blasting effort we don’t get enough of around these parts. Guitarist and vocalist Ethan Smith understands the cathartic value of tension-release dynamics, and those moments when Pinkest decides to go for broke and smash the turbo boost button (see the extended outro of “The Electric Eye”) are positively electric. Meanwhile, the EP’s more moody offerings, such as the groovy garage swing of “Elvira,” underscore perhaps Smiths greatest strength; that is, his ability to intermingle the band’s messy exuberance with a kind of oddball poetic sensibility. “It’s your smell / put your smell in a jar / and I’ve got it waho / I’ve got all your power” he growls on the spring-loaded chorus, and even when he refers to having “seen all your movies,” it’s not entirely clear if he’s singing about a possible lover or the famed Mistress of the Dark.
Garage-y power-pop has long been a staple in Atlanta bars and clubs, but in recent years it’s seen diminishing returns as fans have turned their attention to other forms of music. It’s impossible to say whether Pinkest’s live wire energy and sharp, relentlessly catchy songwriting will bring those listeners flooding back, but it should definitely turn more than a few heads this year. As for what kind of record You Are a Camera wants to be? How about a fun, loud, infectious one? Yeah, that sounds about right.
Pinkest will celebrate the release of You Are a Camera tonight at Mammal Gallery. They will be supported by the Pellys, Antarcticats, and the Callous Daoboys. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. 18+ to enter.