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Quiet Games For Hot Weather

Pinqís first studio album, Quiet Games for Hot Weather, is the type of record you put in when you just donít feel like doing anything at all, including listening to any of your other CDs. For about forty-five minutes, lead singer Tim Mitchell and company unfold a vast sonic landscape that effortlessly flows from one track to another, taking you on a slow journey through hypnotic guitar drones, monochromatic melodies, and wonderfully inward lyrics. The result is an album for the album-as-a-whole lovers, the kind of album for those of us who donít like to be bothered by the responsibility of pressing more buttons than "play" on our players. Dreamy, surreal, and engaging, you donít merely finish listening to Quiet Games when itís over, you wake up from it.

The first track, "Careful Not to Mention the Obvious," wastes no time in getting the brooding started. Mitchellís voice comes on vulnerable and a little flawed, exposing personal lyrics marked by seemingly less-than-ideal life experiences: tried to be perfect / but it didnít go well / tried to be perfect / but sinning went too well. At a mildly epic eight minutes long, this song can be a little demanding for those looking for some good mixtape fodder. But as with the rest of the album, patience is a virtue here. A slow-rolling instrumental emerges midway through the track, builds, climaxes, and gives way to a stark and lovely piano melody looping over quiet bubbling synths. Itís a good song to play the next time you find yourself driving off into the sunset in slow motion with closing credits scrolling up in the horizon.

"Drinking Song," starts with a lazy swing and turns into an anthem of bittersweet triumph with the chorus, youíre sorry because you were caught/ youíre only angry cuz youíre losing. Like these, the lyrics throughout the album are insightful and economical; most of the album is written out in a single paragraph in the liner notes. "Drinking Song" and "Some Somewhere Now" might be the only songs on the album that hint at any sort of traditional song structure in the sense that they have a few verses and a repeated chorus. The rest of the album meanders freely from vocals to instrumentals, from quiet piano to unsettling fuzz and distortion, from the contained to the chaotic.

"Up for Breakfast" is a sleepy little instrumental that sounds more like a bedtime number than one to rise and shine to, but it serves as an appropriate segue to my favorite song on the album, "D.I.Y. Love Song." Here Mitchellís at times weak voice is used to its full potential and is accompanied by a few filtered back-up vocals, drum loops, and samples of people talking. Like the first track, midway through this song a pulsing instrumental takes over and builds for quite some time until the songís dramatic end. This seems to be an effective way for Pinq to stretch out their limited bank of song material.

"L.M.O.E.," an abbreviation for Last Man On Earth, is an elegant track featuring smooth vocals over a melodic piano and guitar backdrop. The second half of the song in "traditional" Pinq fashion is purely instrumental, but rightfully so because the band is quite talented at what they do. Much of the album reminds me of Tortoise before their Standards album, perhaps with a touch of Spiritualized (note the organ on "Flipbook") or a dash of Pink Floyd in the way the lyrics seem sparse and unhurried. An instrumental-heavy album like this one takes the main focus away from the frontman and gives the band a more equal opportunity feel to it.

Quiet Games for Hot Weather is an excellent recording, especially for a debut album. The lyrics are poetically down-to-earth, as is the music, and the overall sound seems equally as crafted as it does spontaneous. As the opening line goes, thereís gold in them hillz" so heed Mitchellís observation and give this one a listen.

Chris Yunt

Track Listing:

  1. Careful Not To Mention The Obvious
  2. Drinking Song
  3. Some Somewhere Now
  4. Up For Breakfast
  5. D.I.Y. Love Song
  6. L.M.O.E.
  7. Flipbook
  8. Xmas With The Matador

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