Viewmaster (4 Alarm Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Portland, Oregon's Pinehurst Kids do what they do best on their sophomore release: loud, fuzzy pop songs with Joe Davis' characteristic emotional voice (which has sparked critics to refer to them as an emo band). Though, make no mistake about it, VIEWMASTER is crunchy, loud, and completely distorted power-pop from start to finish.
"Burn Alone" is all crunch and munch, delivering the goods with hooks aplenty. Davis mans the guitar and vocals, using the guitar as his primary method for releasing aggression and his voice to release his emotions.
"Pretty Whistle" reels you in with more of the Kids' pounding rhythms and distorted guitar screams, as well as a memorable line that will have your head spinning: "A piece is missing from the tale you tell/ Tell about how you sold yourself/ Down the river because you gave up on love/ Sucker!" When Davis yells "sucker" you can't help but feel the pain in his voice as the truth he speaks rings in your head and does you in.
The band gets mean on "Short Bus," as they proclaim "Gasoline makes no friends, it only helps dumb people move." And, with a title like "Short Bus," you can't help but feel Davis is a cruel, spiteful person. But, that is not the case at all. He later confesses, "Gasoline makes no friends/ It only helps me be on time," as if to tell us that the "dumb people" in question are the ones like himself, struggling while dreaming of a past life. He even gives us a glimpse into his past life ("a long time ago I swear I was a mighty triceratops").
"Evil Mirror," the album highlight, delivers a solid foundation through Gates' meaty, infectious bass playing and Kind's drumming (who is no longer in the band), not to mention Davis' emotional voice and jagged, hooky guitar playing.
The Pinehurst Kids aren't out to change the world or to break new ground. Instead, they enjoy having fun, partying, and playing kick-ass pop you can jump right into and sing along with. The songs are solid, the music is fierce, the lyrics are there, and everywhere you turn, there's a hook dragging you back into the hurricane. Fuzzed out pop music that is sweet and vicious. I'll give it an A.