Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Light in Darkness

Some time ago I reported about a debut EP (Studies in Timing and Coincidence, 2008) by a band called Pinstripe 45's. Now this group has finished their debut album – it is called Through the Darkened Window. The result is a peaceful, melancholic singer-songwriter release with lovely, organic sound policy of acoustic guitars, piano and strings.

In contrast to the EP, on this debut full-length bandleader Marshall Hanbury Jr. expresses himself a bit more freely, letting his voice to be heard more directly. Expressed suitably in the theme of the album, this time Hanbury places himself behind a window that is darker and clearer at the same time. Now the influences behind this music are also revealed somewhat differently – more clearly, in fact. Bob Dylan is of course still strongly present. Another name that comes to mind is James Blunt. Hanbury definitely bears some vocal similarity to the British singer.

Bob Dylan’s folky influence also seems to lead Pinstripe 45’s to present some slightly country-tingled expression on the album. Hanbury’s interest towards country-ish rendering can be sensed in his vocals in some places. Due to this country/folk aspect an artist such as Langhorne Slim might also be a relevant comparison. Fans of the Byrds’ early material will most likely enjoy the jangliness of Because She Waits and Even When You Cry.

The voice of Hanbury and his songs is sincere, melancholic and carries both desperation and beauty. If I were to describe Hanbury’s vocal style with one word that word would certainly be bittersweet. No matter how you would like to describe him, one thing is for sure: many songs on this album contain a hook that will make them quite easy to remember.

The music of Pinstripe 45’s will probably paint different pictures to the minds of different listeners. I think this music could suit as a soundtrack for any tranquil, wistful moment. The hopefulness that lies in the melancholy can however make listeners see a bright landscape in their minds rather than a darkening one. Now, with the debut album released, it is to time for the band to keep discovering new approaches to its expression. Through the Darkened Window describes a dark period in life. The next thing I would like to see is obviously what kind of an effect a nice flash of sunlight would have in the world of Pinstripe 45’s.

Pinstripe 45’s on MySpace
Through the Darkened Window page

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