Pins – Bullingdon, Oxford. Published in Oxford Mail 25/2/16
It seems virtually impossible that this all girl, rock and roll five piece originate from the same city that gave us The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis and there is nothing but the soft Mancunian twang of lead singer Faith Holgate to give them away. It is perhaps indicative of a time when the British guitar scene is scratching its head and shrugging its shoulders that Pins are gazing across the Atlantic for inspiration with a sound that would not have been out of place in a sleazy New York City bar in the late nineties. The bands 2015 release Wild Nights betrays its heritage in both style and attitude and you can only but admire the pluckiness of the way Pins approach their music. They founded and ran their own label Haus of Pins, gigged relentlessly, building a solid fan base and were duly rewarded with a recording contract from prestigious music publisher Bella Union.
After the opening three or four tracks of the evening, with little dynamic shift or tempo change, it does become evident that musically the group haven’t quite found their niche and at times it didn’t feel dissimilar to hearing an hours worth of Yeah Yeah Yeahs b sides. The right hair, the right guitars, the right antics all seemed a little too contrived and there was the distinct feeling of being sold a band on a purely superficial level. With few songs of any real distinction or diversity, Curse These Dreams the possible exception, it was hard to find any momentum and the gig became somewhat sluggish and anodyne.
Now and then you do catch a glimpse of a band with a bright future and they can and should be forgiven for showing their idols a little too much respect. It took Primal Scream eight years to release an album which changed the face of British rock and roll and Pins certainly have time and desire on their side.
What Pins are attempting is to be commended and encouraged, breaking the shackles of Brit Rocks entrenched moral code, but at this point in time they are a pale imitation of riot grrrl bands and in need of a slightly less deliberate direction. In the immortal words of Mike Skinner aka The Streets, Let’s push things forward.