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San Francisco quartet Pinq is a kind of slumbering giant; a powerful, emotive rock band capable of enormous, violent expressions of anguish and despair who translates waking emotions into the surreal, ethereal context of dreams. "OK," you say. "That's a dandy little trope, but what the hell do you mean?" I mean that Pinq is clearly capable of doing the straightforward melodic Midwestern emo pop thing, but instead they do something far more interesting, using those emocore tendencies as ballast for their decidedly un-emo ambient wanderings, swirling reverb-heavy walls of guitar drone, and disorienting loops, samples, and gentle feedback. Sometimes the band's need to rock is simply inexorable, and they just explode from beneath the sleepy layers, but for the most part, this feels like rock music filtered through the consciousness of a single mind looking inward. Vocalist Tim Mitchell's sweetly uncertain, slightly wounded croon helps create that effect, seeming at times to be coming from a place inside your head.

He and drummer Ben Montesano have been at the helm of the project since 1995, back when it was called Goldenrod. Bassist Greg Bertens (also a member of Film School) was a part of the group then too, but left for a couple of years as the band struggled to find a coherent sound. By 1998 Mitchell and Montesano were playing and recording together as Pink, and recorded a well-received three-song demo. Soon after the demo was completed, Bertens returned and Andrew Simas signed on to handle keyboards and sampler. Simas stuck around for only a few months before Tad Ro was brought in to replace him, adding a second guitar and piano to the mix. It was then that Pink became Pinq and began to move in an increasingly nuanced, spacey, phantasmagorical direction. In 2000, Pinq issued its first bona fide album, the self-released eight-song album Quiet Games for Hot Weather, which contains all four featured tracks. Quiet Games is a lofty, heavy debut, submerging you in swirling whirlpools of guitar, whispery vocals, and emotionally resonant melodies.

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