Pinhead Gunpowder - Kick Over the Traces (Cover Artwork)

Pinhead Gunpowder

Pinhead Gunpowder: Kick Over the TracesKick Over the Traces (2009)
Recess Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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


Not many bands last as long as two decades, and those who do have often had to compromise something at some point in their careers to make it the distance. Bands are often broken by conflicting egos, ??artistic differences' or by the strains inflicted upon them by demanding recording contracts. Pinhead Gunpowder are not one of those bands. The East Bay ??supergroup' have consistently and almost habitually shunned not only the spotlight, but also any perceived notion of ??commitment.' Pinhead Gunpowder are on a constant hiatus, but not a hiatus that is self-enforced. The band are simply always in a state of stasis, coming together only when it suits each member -- which is not, it would appear, very often. For this reason alone, fans of the ??Gunpowder have long since acquired patience as a core virtue, and have learned to enjoy and to savour the group's precious output whenever it erratically arrives. This time, that arrival comes in the form of a ??greatest hits' compilation, Kick Over the Traces.

For a band who have never had a ??hit,' at least not in any kind of objective sense, Kick Over the Traces is a strange concept -- yet in reality it is a convenient and long overdue release that serves as a reminder (as if we needed one) that this band has repeatedly churned out songs that transcend the realms of brilliance with fascinating consistency. Containing songs that span the duration of the band's career to date -- including all three from 2008's self-titled 7-inch -- the compilation is largely predictable and none of the ??classics' are omitted: "Big Yellow Taxi," "Second Street," "Life During Wartime" and "Mahogany" all feature while songs like "MPLS Song" and "Kathleen" still have the power to inspire sheer awe. One often forgets the band's earliest material, often characterised by departed lead vocalist Mike Kirsch's harsh growl; Mike is today gone but not forgotten, making a welcome return from the depths of Jump Salty on "Future Daydream" and "Keeping Warm in the Night Time."

As the CD reaches its conclusion, one wonders why the band never took the opportunity to simply release a double-disc, anthology type affair -- a chronological ??best of' of their back catalogue, perhaps. Songs such as "Letter from AOF," "Black Mountain, PT.3," "27," "Homesick Hopes" and "Song of the Returning" among others would all be worthy additions. Ultimately, though, regardless of this greedy gripe and despite the distinct lack of any brand new or unreleased material this time round, the nostalgic high alone is surely enough to keep Pinhead Gunpowder junkies worldwide sedated, at least for now, before they return to that familiar state of patience, of waiting, of anticipating.


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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.
Yuaraja (April 12, 2010)

My life during fucking lie

TraumaSponge (July 9, 2009)

Their newest 7" had one of their best songs yet on it. West Side Highway.

Also, how cool is it that they lifted the vocal melody from I'm A Boy by The Who for Kathleen?

thatsyouth (July 8, 2009)

I need to buy this.

baldsteve (July 8, 2009)

Mike is and has been involved in a shit ton of projects:

Torches to Rome
John Henry West
Please Inform the Captain, this is a Hijack

That is barely the tip of the iceberg. I love everything he touches.

SloaneDaley (July 8, 2009)

I always felt Fuel sounded more like Fugazi's 13 Songs than HWM was trying to do. HWM sounded more like Split Lip to me.

Cos (July 7, 2009)

I mean is Mike doing anything musically NOW?

oskorei (July 7, 2009)

i bet this collection is awesome. I can't think of 1 Pinhead Gunpowder song that I don't like. Some are just standard pop punk songs but I can't think of any that I skip over when listening to the albums.

mikexdude (July 7, 2009)

Sure these are great songs but I dunno if a collection is worth a close to perfect score.

The music is fantastic.

lostandclowned (July 7, 2009)

I believe Mike left the band due to conflict with Billie Joe, but that could be wrong.

Cos (July 7, 2009)

whatever happened to Mike Kirsch? That Fuel anthology was pretty great, and made me realize how much of a rip-off Hot Water Music was (though I still love them too)

lostandclowned (July 7, 2009)

Uhh...his name is Wilhelm Fink, not Billie Joe.

kevgren (July 7, 2009)

Agreed on Mike's vocals. The mix of his and Billie's stuff on Jump Salty was perfect.

Deadpan (July 7, 2009)

Jump Salty is all I ever had by these guys. I used to hate it because of Mike's vocals. Then I grew up and realised they were awesome.

MrStylson (July 7, 2009)

Fantastic collection. I would've liked to see "Crazy Horse" make the list, along with the Replacements cover, but if we played those games we'd all end up with one release of a complete discography.

baldsteve (July 7, 2009)

Score is for Mike Kirsch. I goddamn love that guy.

kevgren (July 7, 2009)

Being that it's made entirely of previously released material, I'd say it's a lot like their other stuff!

Seriously, this is a fantastic collection of songs.

kevgren (July 7, 2009)

Being that it's made entirely of previously released material, I'd say it's a lot like their other stuff!

Seriously, this is a fantastic collection of songs.

xshoutoutx (July 7, 2009)

"I'm impressed you wrote this review with not a single poke at a certain rock star member."

...backed. Good review, great band. Hell, I didn't even know they were releasing anything, but if it is anything like their prior releases, should be great. Score is for the band.

ilovepie (July 7, 2009)

everyone complaining about the new Green Day album being terrible earlier should just get this album and pretend it's 21st century breakdown.

drewshaw (July 7, 2009)

"I'm impressed you wrote this review with not a single poke at a certain rock star member."

haha i liked that as well

R3vengeTherapy (July 7, 2009)

Pinhead Gunpowder is absolutely classic. Shoot the Moon is still so good, as is Jump Salty. Actually, there's nothing that this band has done that I'd call weak.

I'm impressed you wrote this review with not a single poke at a certain rock star member.

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