Album Review: Pinkunoizu

free time! (full time hobby)

Copenhagen isn't just about dark drama, bridges and dead bodies you know. It's also about idiosyncratic bands with hard to pronounce Japanese names making some truly and unusually interesting music. Well, in this case just the one band - Pinkunoizu.

Comprising Jaleh Negari (drums), Jeppe Brix (guitars) Andreas Pallisgaard (guitars, vox) and Jakob Falgren (guitars, keys, foot pedal bass), the four members of Pinkunoizu formerly played together in the acclaimed Danish post-rock group Le Fiasko. Andreas explains:

"Starting Pinkunoizu was a great relief for us, since we could feel that we were nurturing a space where we could play music for real and have a great say – all four of us."

Now a more flexible, smaller outfit, Pinkunoizu could indeed still be filed under the post-rock banner but only in the most literal and wide sense, not 'Post-Rock' as in 'sounds like Mogwai'. This is post-rock in the way that say Stereolab, The Beta Band or Animal Collective are post-rock. ie. leftfield and unconventional.

Last year saw Pinkunoizu ('Pink Noise' in Japanese FYI) sign to the Full Time Hobby label and release the PEEP EP which included the 11-minute epic Dairy Queen. The end of March this year brought a wecome debut, full LP-length offering: Free Time!, with eight tracks (six new) self-recorded in rehearsal rooms in the German and Danish capitals.

Free Time! is one of those albums that you really need to sit down and really listen to in order to appreciate fully. An unpredictable, involved but nonetheless ear-friendly listen that establishes deep, immersive grooves, the LP represents the far-ranging recording processes of this unusual band. Andreas notes further:

"I like the idea of taking little snatches from the world that surrounds us and putting those into the music. We've recorded random sounds from around our homes and used them as textures."

The result is one of a wonderful sense of immersion, and of songs that are given the time they need to expand in whatever way seems appropriate (four of the tracks clock in at between 6 and 9 minutes in length) without any sense of straining the core of each. With such a wide canvas there is more than enough room to experience certain numbers encompassing quite varied sections and to stick with them long enough to make them feel in no way a brief and cheap 'hook'. Take The Abyss as an example, a gorgeously smooth groove that halfway through bursts open with a guitar part that is up-front and could have come inspired by quality 60's psychedelia. Lovely. Death Is Not A Lover too manages to pull off multiple morphs that in the latter part almost bring to mind Prince performing a cover of The Breeders - Yeah, really.

Now I'm not going to pore over every single track and offer an analysis, to some extent it's true to say that that approach is not really going to work for Pinkunoizu - The tracks are new, unusual and fresh, and being told they sound like X, Y and Z perhaps will only spoil the surprises as it were. Listen to the stream - make your own mind up. I'm putting my money on guessing it will be a highly enjoyable experience, as this is one band that I'm putting in my box marked "Has made something sounding genuinely 'new' in the second decade of the 21st century". Not much ends up in that box of mine - not more than one or two albums per year. But it's a very special and wonderful box...

If you find Free Time! floats your boat in a big way then LP orders, more videos and upcoming tour dates can all be found at www.pinkunoizu.com. Last night the band played in London (*thud thud thud* - Yes, that's the sound of me kicking myself for missing it), tonight (Weds 25/04) sees an appearance at Liverpool's Shipping Forecast followed by a number of European dates, before Pinkunoizu again return to the UK for the 'End of the Road' festival in Salisbury on September 1st. Recommended, highly.