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Album Review

Pinegrove – Cardinal

Pinegrove - Cardinal

On paper emo-country shouldn’t work, but somehow it just does.

Label: Run For Cover Records
Released: 12th February 2016

Rating: ★★★

While news that a newly signed Run For Cover Records band are releasing a record is always an intriguing prospect, rarely is that intrigue as compounded as it was when ‘Cardinal’ opener, ‘Old Friends’ streamed alongside the announcement. With their obvious country-leanings shining through on that track, Pinegrove were clearly out of the left field, even for a label with an ever-diversifying roster such as RFC.

Still, across the record’s eight tracks that country veneer is surprisingly unobtrusive, given the thickness with which it’s laid on. That ends up being the case because directly beneath it, lie brilliantly written, truly heartfelt songs – and when that’s at the core of an album, genre descriptors become largely irrelevant. In fact, there are moments on the up-tempo ‘Then Again’, that see Pinegrove placed in a sonic stratosphere not a million miles away from the likes of The Front Bottoms or Modern Baseball.

This won’t be the most notable album released on their label, but it sure as hell might be the one that leads the most listeners to realise that they’re into something they might have previously dismissed. On paper emo-country (countreemo?) shouldn’t work, but somehow, owing to some impossibly charming lyricism and enticing vocal melodies courtesy of frontman, Evan Stephens Hall, it just does. Ryan De Freitas