Initially you may be right in thinking, as my Editor has done, that there are strong traces of Melvins and Birthday Party in this release. Not being a big fan of either, I’ll opt for the traces of “Locust”-era Buttholes ( Sample-based tracks like “Acceptability For Behaviors”), the sludgy squall of Burmese (without the misanthropy/misogyny) and even traces of Bodychoke in the lyrical content (“Family Therapy”).
The dark hand of grunge’s influence (Tad?) manifests itself in “Pitcher” and “Domestica”. In fact some of these tracks wouldn’t have sounded out of place on that “Fuck Me, I’m Rich” SubPop compilation released half-a-lifetime ago. That’s not to damn Pink City with faint praise or hoist them high as victims of their own influences.
The album holds together well, the vocalist MM occasionally sounds like Ian Curtis (Endless Night) and at times a less-strident M.Gira (to these ears) and the overall atmosphere is one of misery, depression and the breakdown of the self. Go on, treat yourself to a bit of misery.
Armed with an 8-track recording and devoid of any face-to-face interaction between band members, Pink City hold it down on their debut full-length, Designing Women. Don’t be fooled by the extremely out of place title. The album is sludgy, heavy, and loud. Pretty freaking loud, which is A-OK in my book.
The opening strains of “Wrung” kick the album off to a nice start, with a bass-heavy beat that seems almost tame in comparison to the uber heavy “The Operator” that’s up next. (Did a herd of buffalo just run by or something?) “Condescend” and the spoken word sample track “Acceptability For Behaviors” bookend the dynamic, and possibly best track on the album, “Comes Apart”—a six-minute assault of distortion and sludge. Sigh.
“Family Therapy” takes it down just a notch for what you could call one of the “quieter” moments on the album. Not to be confused with not heavy, ’cause it totally is. Just a cool-down before you’re brought back up with the fantastically noisy “Pitcher” and “Domestica.” The broodiness of “Endless Night” and “Happy Days” (not happy at all, by the way…) close out the album in an intense fashion. You’re hit hard over the head with the thumping bass rhythm, but the vibe is different here. A tad bit slower and a tad bit darker. But good.
Gotta say that Pink City’s Designing Women exceeded my expectations. Interweaving well-placed electronics with a bass-heavy beat and throaty distorted vocals, the 10-track LP kinda grabs you by the balls a bit and doesn’t let go for about 40 minutes. For as young as these dudes are, they’re certainly heading in the right direction.