Pins & Panzers


Tommy Boy, 2009

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


By the end of an interminable, windy, stress-case February, we could all probably use a little Plushgun in our lives (no, that’s not innuendo for anything). Instead, the full-length debut from Brooklyn-based Plushgun is a lovely, short but sweet offering that manages to stand out in a crush of similarly shimmery indie synth-pop. With liberal swaths of keyboards, Daniel Ingala’s bombastic vocals, and irrepressibly energetic lyrics, this batch of ten songs reminds me most of Stars (though a little less overblown) or The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s self-titled debut in its lush atmosphere and spunky tone.

Opener “Dancing In A Minefield” encapsulates the threesome’s devil may care attitude right from the beginning; the track starts out deceptively brooding with slow-burning keyboards and Ingala’s hushed vocals – until the synths kick in and drive the beat, weaving past exuberant lines like “And we were dropping bombs with our sneakers on / And we were dancing in a minefield with a bottle of whisky / ‘Cause you can't tell us what to do.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The songs here are unquestionably catchy, but still boast substance beneath the airy swirls of keyboards and big drum fills. Even a potentially cheesy kiss-off to high school, which bears the refrain “This is how we roll / We’re the rebels of senior year,” is just so earnestly delivered and so jammed full of slickly pretty instrumentation that its impossible to resist, and the rapid-fire tempo changes - all pulled off effortlessly – show a band squarely in command of their craft.

Pins & Panzers moves along breathlessly throughout its forty-minute runtime, whether it’s the bittersweet, nervous energy of lead single “Just Impolite,” Ingala’s sweetly hushed vocals paired with raucous, call-to-arms synths on “A Crush To Pass The Time,” or the brooding, stuttering dance beat of “The Dark In You.” And fittingly, they follow “The Dark In You”’s midnight mood with the endearingly lighthearted “Let Me Kiss You Now (And I’ll Fade Away)”, which grooves along on a handclap-accented ukulele beat before adding in piles of bouncy synths.

It’s one of Plushgun’s strengths that Pins & Panzers never once really loses its footing; instead, the spirit of sheer bombast is maintained throughout, and even within each individual cut there are enough tempo mix-ups to keep everything consistently fresh. These are the types of songs that would soundtrack the best type of romantic comedy – nothing overtly cheesy, just a heartfelt, undeniable catchiness that you can’t help but adore; and plus, there’s nothing like swirling dance beats to cure those February blues.

Rating: B+

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© 2009 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Tommy Boy, and is used for informational purposes only.