Pinehurst Kids – Bleed it Dry

Pinehurst Kids
Bleed it Dry

I don’t think I have anything to say about The Pinehurst Kids that I haven’t already said. They’re a rock band, not an emo band, despite the “kids” part of their name. They’re not really a pop band, despite bouncy, light moments. They’re not going to get much mainstream air play because their sound isn’t popular these days to the mainstream audience. They’re not really Pavement-esque indie rock. So where exactly do they fit in?

I don’t know, really. They’re just an up-tempo, fast-paced, guitar-focused rock band. If this was 1996 or so, I’d say they’re “alternative” or college rock, but whether those things exist anymore, I’m not sure. The sound of those days was crisp guitar with little distortion and effects, fast-paced songs, catchy hooks. That’s the Pinehurst Kids to a tee, and they’d sound perfect on a mix disc with Sugar, Best Kissers in the World, and Dramarama. Too bad it’s 2001 and people don’t remember those bands. Because while the sound doesn’t go out of style and still is fun, it’s not quite as relevant.

Pretty much all of the songs here are relatively similar in style and sound: all upbeat and centered around crisp, clean guitar lines and Joe Davis’ ethereal voice. “Spinning Out” starts out with a bit of a lighter, more atmospheric sound and a head-bobbing, sing-along chorus, and the single, “The Onceler,” is a more moody and urgent song with an intense, in-your-face chorus. Things get even faster on “Rollover” and then quiet down just a tad on “I Woke Up.” It seems to go that way throughout, with the faster songs being more catchy, the slower songs more intense.

“All I Know” is about the closest to a slow sound on this album, and yet the same up-tempo rhythm keeps the song plugging away nicely. Only here, Davis’ vocals take over as the focus from the guitar, and his vocals, while unique and strong, are almost too high-pitched and ethereal to be the focus. “Planet of the Apes” is a timely release, and the chorus is quite intense, as Davis comes closest to a scream that I’ve heard, while the song maintains a poppy feel. “Deconstruct” is a little more hard-rock and almost punk in the percussion and pace, while organs come in to lend a neat and more original sound on “No Show,” one of the album’s highlight tracks. Again, “Shepherd to Lost Sheep” has something of a punk rhythm, while the closer, “Flashbulbs,” is again more urgent and moody without giving way to quiet emo-style music. The keyboards again add a nice touch, and Davis sings with a hint of desperation, “flashbulbs go off in time / and burn this in my mind / I walk the line for you / but I cannot make this real / is nothing left / a half ass excuse / just an empty bottle now.”

As much as I like The Pinehurst Kids – and I do like them – their album sound very similar with little change in sound. There’s some maturing since their first release, Minnesota Hotel, but if you liked Viewfinder, you’d like Bleed it Dry, as they’re cut from the same cloth. These songs are catchy and fun to listen to and play at high volume, and Davis’ high-pitched vocals and stellar, crisp guitar keep them sounding unique, but you really won’t remember this album much after it’s through. There’s nothing wrong with that, I guess.