The first time I heard Pinback was during season two of "The O.C." What high school kid could forget? But while I've put some distance between those "fun" times, it seems Pinback is stuck in its old ways. The San Diego trio's fourth album in 13 years, Information Retrieved, holds tight to the usual formula the band has become known forclean riffs and well-tuned vocals that combine into catchy, familiar phrasings.
"Diminished" sounds like a lost Elliot Smith track. "Drawstring" has a mellow Smashing Pumpkins vibe. "Denslow, You Idiot!" might have been co-written by James Mercer of The Shins. Not that Pinback is emulating all of these artists; it just isn't blazing any trails. Play the band's four albums in any order and it will be tough to pick out the chronology. Information Retrieved is a good, solid listen for nostalgia's sake, but it doesn't offer any progress. Shouldn't it? I let go of my emo phase. Now it's your turn, Pinback.
Pinback plays the Top Hat Friday, Aug. 30, at 9 PM with Octagrape. $18/$16 advance.