Atombombpocketknife (ABPK) guitarist Justin Sinkovich used to be in Thumbnail, one of the too-few bands to play in the basement of the White Birch—one of the too-few former rock houses in Missoula where a really great show somehow managed to happen between regular visits from Missoula’s finest. Recently I read an article he wrote for Skyscraper zine about the winter tour car accident that destroyed the Thumbnail van and made him swear off winter touring forever. Please, nobody tell him that it’s almost bound to snow on him at least once while his new band, Atombombpocketknife, is in Montana. It’s November, man! It snowed on the first day of June this year!
Truthfully, I remember very little about what Thumbnail actually sounded like, except to say that they practically made my ears bleed—just really, really loud. There are plenty of quiet stretches on the new ABPK album, God Save the ABPK. It also benefits from a beautiful recording, courtesy of former Missoulian Greg Norman, and although Sinkovich’s parched vocals are the least interesting thing going on here musically, at least they’re also absorbent enough in their blandness to draw the amazing guitar colors to the forefront. Kind of like eggplant. Ah, the miracle of capillary action. The first couple of Unwound records obviously appealed to these guys. On the whole, though, ABPK is an impressive band with a mild tendency to let a good song overstay its welcome. Live, as they say, I’m sure I’ll just “get into it.”
Incidentally, Mr. Sinkovich: Homestake and Lookout Passes can look really terrifying when there’s snow on the ground, but it’s the one just outside of Bozeman that you’ve really got to watch out for. Drive safely.
Atombombpocketknife play the Boys and Girls Club at 8 PM Thursday, Nov. 1, with special guests the Pleasure.