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Pinegrove | courtesy of the artist

New Jersey Indie rock luminaries Pinegrove have released their debut record with Run For Cover Records, Cardinal.

The Montclair band has been making waves recently with signing to RFC and coverage on publications such as Stereogum and Pitchfork. Since 2010 they’ve been releasing a steady stream of intimate and beleaguered rock and roll songs, making their release of Cardinal so monumental.

Cardinal consists of two older songs, “New Friends” and “Size Of The Moon,” and six new ones. The record opens with the toe-tapping “Old Friends”, a woodsy rocker accented with the plucking of banjo-strings and heart-strings alike with lyrics such as, “I should call my parents when I think of them, I should tell my friends when I love them.”

As they say on their Bandcamp, Pinegrove promotes “introspective partying.” On songs like “Cadmium” and “Waveform”, the music creates a dreamy reverb for the brain, almost forcing the listener to think and look inward. It searches for direction and promises hope. This is headphones music. Bus riding music.

Sound wise, the band combines aspects of varying influences from modern country (Ryan Adams, Old 97’s) to revivalist emo (A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Tigers Jaw), all the while providing the abstract confessional honesty of artists like Modest Mouse and Death Cab. There are also elements of folk, jangle pop, even noise rock.

Stand out track “Aphasia” uses the communication disorder as a metaphor for not knowing which words to use in dire situations while not being able to let go of mistakes. On “Cadmium”, vocalist Even Stephens Hall may croon “I sing, I sing for me,” but you can tell he’s singing for anyone who’s ever felt lost.

Cardinal is a promising release from a band with a lot left to say. By ending the record with their two older songs, it shows a progression back to their roots, which seems to be important to the band, while still looking forward. On “Old Friends”, they ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” That question may be asking for trouble, but for Pinegrove, that should be the least of their worries.

Pinegrove plays the Petting Zoo in Philly this Saturday, February 13th. After making a trip around the country, the band returns to town to play the Theatre of Living Arts on April 24th with Into It. Over It., The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and The Sidekicks. For tickets, follow this link.

Listen to the excellent Cardinal by Pinegrove below.

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