Needles//Pins - Shamebirds (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Needles / / Pins

Shamebirds (2014)

Dirt Cult Records

When someone tells you that a particular record is the best thing a label has released it's often worth ensuring that you're carrying a pinch of salt, especially when the label in question is Dirt Cult Records, home of far too many great releases for me to mention here thus making such a claim rather grandiose and potentially false. However, the fact that this was said about a Dirt Cult release, in the form of Needles//Pins' Shamebirds, was enough to make me sit up and actually get quite excited about hearing the record.

Therefore, I approached Shamebirds with a mix of excitement and trepidation. The former built up by the those ambitious words whilst the latter due to worrying over finding that either I was being deceived or that I just didn't get the same feeling as he did about the ten–track album.

For the record I played this eight times in a row in an attempt to ensure I was able to confirm or otherwise whether this was the best Dirt Cult release so far and I came to the conclusion that actually it is. I played it that many times because I loved it and it make an impact straight from the off. Needles//Pins play a mix of snotty power–pop with a slightly grittier garage edge thrown in for good measure. The music is generally mid–paced with a simple, scratchy guitar throwing out riffs and the occasional lead to provide the main focus for me.

The overall impression given is one of a tight approach but one which doesn't come across as soulless as there is also a relaxed quality right through the record. Vocally I hear elements of Joey Ramone and Ben Weasel which kind of fits in with the Screeching Weasel and The Riverdales vibe I get from tracks such as "What's His Face" and "Only Call Me When You're Drunk," both are probably my favourites from the album.

Dirt Cult's back catalogue is one of the strongest of any active label around and for this to top the pile in terms of its output is no mean feat. Needles//Pins are a damn fine band and Shamebirds is an excellent record.

End Note: This review was written and submitted during my lunch break in work, having listened to it constantly as I toiled away counting beans for my employer. My intention for the afternoon is to play the hell out of it again and again, obviously whilst continuing to give my all!