In recent years the number of girls forming gangs eager to create Spector-esque paeans only using guitars has risen by the day. When done properly - the first Vivian Girls LP, Best Coast's 'Black Iris' 7-inch, 'Longhair' by Dum Dum Girls - it's one of the most pleasing sounds known to the eardrum. As with anything else, though, there's also the risk of saturation which while adding to the quantity tends to dilute the quality and before you know it, said genre and its key incumbents find themselves confined to the shelf left bare for yesterday's produce.
One thing all of the above have in common are their Stateside origins. Indeed it would take a 15 year trek back in time to find the last homegrown band of this nature to make an impact. All hail the wonderful Kenickie, whose often shambolic live shows were more than compensated by a near flawless back catalogue. As with the best adherents to such disposable musical deities, they didn't stick around long enough to outstay their welcome. Nevertheless, the void left since their disbandment has spread into something like a vast chasm, such has been the lack of worthwhile successors on these shores.
Which is where Pins enter the fray. Formed in Manchester little over a year ago, compared to all of the above, there's something more sinister yet aloof in an ethos that's as far removed from throwaway pop as it gets. While debut single 'Eleventh Hour' rekindled memories of The Shop Assistants at their Subway recording finest, LuvU4Lyf, the follow-up EP and first release for Bella Union, crackles with a subversive menace from start to finish.
Forget the text speak nature of the EP and title track's moniker, this is an altogether more brooding exercise than first timers engaging in Pins' world will have bargained for. "They wanna take me," announces main voice Faith Holgate over slow building guitars and a tribal drumbeat straight out of Burundi, before turning the tables incessantly, declaring "I would die for you!" provocatively until the song's end.
'Little Sting' is part Siouxsie, part Gun Club in its make-up. While not exactly donning every shade of black imaginable from head to toe, it's hardly the C86 pastiche this band's music has been painted as in some quarters either. 'Say To Me' too finds solace in the garage space vacated many moons ago by Thee Headcoatees, its closing harmony of "I've waited for you to surround me, now astound me," kind of summing up Pins to a tee. Not easy to impress, and as a result not in the mind to compromise either. EP closer 'You Don't Need To Be' is perhaps the least memorable of the four tracks on offer here, shrouded in mystique yet not as instantaneous as any of its three predecessors.
Nevertheless, LuvU4Lyf is a pristine introduction to the darkly perverse world of Pins. Manchester, so much to answer for. Again.
7Dom Gourlay's Score