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Rob Crow - Living Well (Cover Artwork)

Rob Crow

Rob Crow: Living WellLiving Well (2007)
Temporary Residence

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Just so you know up front: This is not a Rob Crow fanboy review. OK, so the guy has had 16 musical projects (according to an unofficial site), but I haven't even heard that much Pinback. I realized that my wife has their most recent album, 2004's Summer in Abaddon, which was released on Touch and Go.
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Just so you know up front: This is not a Rob Crow fanboy review. OK, so the guy has had 16 musical projects (according to an unofficial site), but I haven't even heard that much Pinback. I realized that my wife has their most recent album, 2004's Summer in Abaddon, which was released on Touch and Go. So I've been giving that a listen too for comparison, but that's all I have to go on except for a few MP3s of some of his other projects. I guess I'll have to go mostly on the actual music contained on Living Well. Remember dear readers -- staff reviewers are sent stuff, so don't complain "why review this if you don't know crap about so-and-so?!" Shut it. I got enough of that with that Mudhoney review.

While it seems Crow has had quite the eclectic-sounding bunch of projects (Goblin Cock, Optiganally Yours), Living Well seems like it should have just been the next Pinback album. It's all here: mid-to-slow tempo indie rock, usually on the softer side, with the occasional meter changes and drums that sound like or are indeed drum machines. Yet within these parameters Crow achieves a range of sounds. At times it can sound as poppy as Death Cab (like on "Over Your Heart," especially with that light arpeggiated guitar part), and other times it comes across more artsy and groove-based like Slint ("Chucked"), and even other times like mathy post-punk la No Knife (openers "Bam Bam" and "I Hate You Rob Crow"). And then there's the too-short "No Sun" which sounds a ton like Elliott Smith at the beginning, with rapidly picked acoustic notes bouncing off a subdued-yet-hooky melody. "Taste" has bit of Smith in there too, and is thankfully a longer, more developed tune earning it key track status.

The thing I like about Crow's songwriting, being pretty new to it, is the concise nature. A lot of the songs here don't break the two-minute barrier because he likes to hit you with an idea, but not beat you down with it. The first two tracks don't technically have a 'chorus' because nothing comes back to repeat. However, unlike what I've read about his first two solo albums, he doesn't waste time here with jokey throwaway tracks or fuck-around instrumentals. "Liefeld" is weird, yes, but within its slow gyspy-polka there is musical and lyrical content (and a cool accordion-sounding-thing) to earn the song inclusion. Otherwise, Crow is focused and fairly consistent throughout the album. Nothing earth-shattering in comparison to his 'main' band, just consistently good songs.

Even though Crow must have a lot of creative control in Pinback, he felt the need to make their next album solo and therefore created his most solid solo effort to date. He's a family man now. He wants be home with his wife and son, and still make music. Yet, this creates a conundrum. With how much a baby sleeps, how could he have recorded the majority of this album in his home studio? He must have damn good soundproofing.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SloaneDaley (January 31, 2007)

picked this up tis goodass

Anonymous (January 29, 2007)

Blue Screen Life is far better than Summer In Abbadon, in my opinion. I think it's a better starting point.

greg0rb (January 25, 2007)

I don't know why Brian changed my "Shuttie" to "Shut it" in the first paragraph... I'm just totally addicted to King of Queens reruns... who's with me?! (makes flatulence sound with hand to mouth) Anyway I think I did read something about a new Pinback album coming out this year...not sure though.
-Greg

youwinalemon (January 25, 2007)

Summer In Abaddon is an awesome album.

I want a new Pinback and I want it now...or soon-ish.

BTown (January 24, 2007)

So how do you get to be a reviewer? I want free records sent to me.

vitustinnitus (January 24, 2007)

i really liked Blue Screen Life moreso than Summer In Abaddon.

also, the Off Cell EP has one of my favorite songs by them: "B"

Anonymous (January 24, 2007)

everyone should check out Team Sleep... Chino from the Deftone's side project... Rob Crow does the vocals for i think five songs or so.

Anonymous (January 24, 2007)

i agree Summer In Abbadon is their best.

maverick (January 24, 2007)

"oh and any suggestions on what Pinback (or other) releases to start with?"

Summer In Abbadon is pretty much their peak; it came out in 2004 on Touch And Go.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 24, 2007)

two words 1)heavy 2)vegetable.

baseball (January 24, 2007)

oh and any suggestions on what Pinback (or other) releases to start with?

baseball (January 24, 2007)

i've been listening to the stream of this today at work and i'm pretty impressed

never heard Pinback or any of his other stuff, but i'll be checking them out now

this is some great mellow stuff

Anonymous (January 24, 2007)

ZACK > ROB

maverick (January 24, 2007)

I love that this dude looks like he's in Hot Water Music or something. One more reason to love him.

Great record.

-Scott

bombshoes (January 23, 2007)

ha, love that ending

Anonymous (January 23, 2007)

suit up!

istapledmyfoot (January 23, 2007)

i want more ladies!

Anonymous (January 23, 2007)

score is for Rob Crow and anything he does.

this guy could fart in a tin can and make it sound good.

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