A horrible hack

Horace Pinker

Local State Inertia

Year Released: 2011
Format: LP
Label: Jump Start Records
Reviewed by Toby on Jan 15, 2013
Well it looks like this album has opened up two pretty flawed (and criminally prolonged) assumptions that I've been making; first, I had always thought of Jump Start Records as being somewhere between Moon-Ska and Drive Through, and whilst there may be some bands on the label that might fit the criteria for those aforementioned, this U.S label also handles releases by the rather fantastic Chicago grunge/punk outfit All Eyes West and the Replacements-esque Noise By Numbers – meaning I shall be keeping much more of a close eye on future output from the label…So this tenuous Chi-Town link takes us onto my next error of judgement.

I’d always been aware of Horace Pinker; they were one of those bands whose name I saw on punk compilations and mix-tapes in the ‘90’s but I never really checked out. I’d mentally put them in the box of bands like Screeching Weasel, Chixdiggit or Pulley – all great bands I’m sure but not the sort of bands I’m massively into. Therefore when I started this album up I was expecting some bouncy background music but nothing that was going to really divert my attention for more than a few rotations. Well once again assuming has made an ass out of me (that phrase doesn’t totally work here as the ‘me’ bit is phonetic not written but anyway…). If we’re looking at Chicago references (as it turns out, Horace Pinker are now based there) then this lot are far less Screeching Weasel and owe a lot more to local residents such as Naked Raygun (the woahs here are prime Raygun) or even Shellac (you have to tilt your ears a bit, but it’s there I promise!). The (scarily comprehensive) press release that accompanies this album makes comparisons with Samiam and Face to Face and whilst the influences of these bands runs through Horace Pinker like cheap speed through a Crustie there is most certainly a lot more going on here. As soon as you think you have a song pinned down it throws you a curve ball, for example the album’s title track starts with a classic Face To Face style riff but then the vocals kick in, more evocative of Fugazi than anything else before a Dinosaur Jr or Soul Asylum melody is peeled off and then it all picks up a notch and you’re left thinking of classic Snuff. Whilst this may sound atrocious on paper (or screen as it were) this is a wholly beautiful thing. The slower songs on the album (e.g. ‘Damage Done’) don’t quite hit the spot as much as the more driving numbers, whilst great they’re in danger of sounding like a slightly under par version of Samiam classics like ‘Dull’ or ‘Factory’, but hey, even an under par version of these songs is pretty great right? When the urgency kicks in though, Horace Pinker are in no one’s shadows; to be honest as much as I enjoyed the last Samiam album, I think this is waaay better, it’s got that passion, urgency and lift that makes great punk rock and that’s been lacking from their peers for some time.

If you’re into mid-paced melodic punk or have written off this genre for a while then I would highly suggest giving this a whirl. Me? I’m going to dive straight into their back catalogue as if it’s even half as good as this album then I’m in for a treat.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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