When a band makes a splash with their debut album, it can be difficult for them to move past it. Not because the band themselves don’t continue to evolve, but their audiences come to expect certain dynamics. So how does it play out that fierce Mancunians PINS have gone for a slightly less aggressive approach on their second album, Wild Nights?
What really has become apparent is that PINS have more of a pop sensibility than they were willing to let on to before. There are still hints of the steely, garage rock crunch that introduced them as a girl gang you probably didn’t want to cross on a dark side street. They give more space to rhythm on songs like 'Curse These Dreams' and 'Too Little Too Late,' which, with its lingering, creepy keyboards, does nothing to soften their image. But an affinity for pop songs that are more reminiscent of Best Coast’s California than the warehouses of northern England is definitely shining through this time.
A big part of it is down to the development of the vocals, which replace whoops and distant backing vocals of their debut with some truly lovely harmonies. They make songs like opening track 'Baby Bhangs' that much edgier, but carry straight-up ballads like 'Got It Bad' and 'Everyone Says' where guitars are more incidental.
While PINS may not be revolutionary lyricists, they manage to preserve a veneer of toughness, even if their changing style might come across as more approachable.
Quite plainly, it doesn’t matter how sweetly they sing about “wild nights with Molly”, the song is still undercut with blatant cynicism (because oh gee gosh golly whatever could they be referring to?).
But that cheekiness is crucial. If this brighter pop direction is the future for PINS, then maintaining that attitude shows that they haven’t completely shifted away from where they began. Even if they wrap themselves in prettier packaging, they’re as sharp as ever.
7Amanda Farah's Score