Pinegrove – ‘Everything So Far’

By Dave Bull

It’s odd for a band that has offered so much over their two full lengths and several EPs to release what’s effectively a best-of album, when they only have a limited playing history and back catalogue to choose from. However, ‘Everything So Far’ is exactly that for Pinegrove, prior to last year’s ‘Cardinal’ that is (it wouldn’t make a whole deal of sense to re-release an album only initially released less than 12 months ago).

The album includes a plethora of singles from across their discography including the first track ‘New Friends’, which has a blurry rock feel and was an instant success in 2016. The vocal integrity of Hall shines through, as does the musical craftsmanship. ‘Angelina’ transports the listener away from their worries. Pinegrove do nostalgia proud, Hall declaring “I love you like the old days”, the heart wrenching with appreciable sadness. ‘Overthrown’ is one of the greatest tracks Pinegrove have made; the tempo and vocal oozing of Hall is dreamlike, the ukulele trickling over the track, allowing the time signature to direct the listener.

Pinegrove take lyrical inspiration from the world around us and they combine music and words perfectly, so as to provide a crescendo that inspires, uplifts and educates. With such a scaled back approach to song writing, Hall’s voice is prominent throughout and it’s his rhetoric of deeper thinking and positive affirmations that make the full package so uplifting with Pinegrove.

What this album does, with profiteering cynicism to one side, is provide a wonderful slice of Pinegrove history, and a collection of their best material from 2010 to 2016. In a way, it acts like the end of a chapter, but one that is openly ready to be appreciated and enjoyed both now and in the future. It shows that Pinegrove have lasted the test of time, on a micro scale at least.

Tracks twelve to nineteen are their first full length ‘Meridian’ in full, immediately reminding you why this band became interesting and turned heads in the scene. The shoegaze blur of ‘Palisade’, alongside an emotive Hall, provides a suffocating cacophony of musical honesty, before ‘The Metronome’. As if we didn’t know this already, it places Hall as one of the lyricists of his generation, particularly within this genre. “Look me in the eyes, and be practical” enhances this viewpoint, his lyrics poignant and eloquently delivered, before the chorus of “I agree with your ideas, but not your tactics” takes this album to new vocal territory, and one of sheer accolade.

‘Over My Shoulder’ was one of the stand out tracks on ‘Meridian’. The beat, laden with funk and technical drum and guitar licks, shows the multi genre overlaps that Pinegrove have under their belts, and again highlights their importance in the scene, as both excellent songwriters but also incredible musicians.

The guitar lick in ‘Morningtime’ is divine and the timing sequence and staccato guitar in ‘Sunday’ perfectly round off the end of the ode to ‘Meridian’. The minor chords and chug of the guitar in ‘Old Jet Lag’, and the moodier and slower ‘Days’, close out the release with Hall confessing he’s “been dead for days”, a nod to the emotional wreckage that ensues after love ends.

This album is perfect in so many ways, because primarily Pinegrove are a really great band, and are very good at what they do. However, the question still remains as to why they felt the need to release such a compilation of historical music, given the relatively short history that the band have had, especially within a world where all previous works are often ubiquitously available. This being said, it gives an opportunity for fans to salute the past achievements of the band and look forward to a future of new Pinegrove music over, hopefully many, years to come.

DAVE BULL

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