by Max Freedman (@anticlimaxwell)
The Pine Barrens, a vast swath of southeastern New Jersey forest that remains blissfully undisturbed despite key highways running through parts of it, isn’t too far from where the members of Pine Barons grew up. The band’s equally playful and clever name betrays the charm that has gathered it a modest but devoted following, particularly in South Jersey and Philly. Part of the band’s local reputation stems from frontman Keith Abrams’ work with Philly staples The Districts (he helped The Districts record seven songs on its third album Popular Manipulations, due next week). Pine Barons’ sophomore album, The Acchin Book, which follows a four-year near-silence, might just raise the band to The Districts’ ranks as, well, barons of the Philly scene, and Post-Trash is thrilled to premiere it here today, ahead of its August 4 release on Grind Select.
Like its close friends in The Districts, Pine Barons loves a set of hefty, rumbling guitars in its rock music. As much as critics will be tempted to compare the two, since its members happen to be close friends in addition to collaborators, the similarities end there. Pine Barons’ music is singularly positive and radiant, marked with a wide smile as it uses beautiful imagery of the earth’s fauna and flora to comment on the intricacies of human nature and relationships. Abrams’ shrill, vast singing meshes with driving, lightly overdriven guitars that often span the upper range of rock tempos; with enviably tight drumming courtesy of Collin Smith, The Acchin Book is an exuberant surge of nearly mathy, faintly psychedelic rock. As many as four band members—Abrams, Smith, guitarist Brad Pulley, bassist Shane Hower—can be heard singing at once, only adding to the joy. “Garden Spring” gives each of these four, as well as keyboardist Alex Beebe, a bright space in which to shine both their instrumental gifts and their vocal contributions"; “Root Loss” does the same via pretty but sharp verses that yield to spearheaded choruses. On headier, more complexly arranged songs, such as lead single “Telescope,” the band’s individualities fuse into one booming, gleaming machine that knocks over anything in its path. The Acchin Book’s eleven chapters are universally deft regardless of how loudly its individual members manifest, ensuring a riveting listening experience throughout.
Pine Barons will celebrate The Acchin Book’s release with a Philly show; full tour dates are below.
08/03 - Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA (album release show)
08/04 - New York, NY @ Bushwick Public House
09/23 - Philadelphia, PA @ WXPN/World Café Live’s Philly Music and Arts Fest