On the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, two members of local noise-punks Shearing Pinx have just entered what they call the Abbot Street Moldy Village. The hall inside is almost bare; only a small poster insisting “Punk’s not dead” foreshadows the rooms within.
The room labeled “Female Vocals” is the band’s jam space, where singer/guitarist Nic Hughes, and drummer Jeremy Van Wyck take seats on dilapidated furniture. The walls are covered with art and memorabilia: a large photo of an exploding plane, not one but two Lost Highway posters, a Jackson Pollock-like painting, and countless gig flyers.
“Some of it was put up by the last band, some of it by ours,” says Hughes. A picture of a shirtless David Lee Roth, his hands chained together, stares down from the wall. When asked about it, Hughes shrugs, “Oh, that one was us.”
Pinx had a busy 2011, which isn’t surprising for a band that’s issued over 50 releases since its inception in 2005, many of which appear on Hughes’ label Isolated Now Waves. Just after issuing the Night Danger LP last summer, the band followed it up with Rituals in September, and now it seems they’ve finally earned a break.
But not for long. Pinx has just recently planned a national tour for May and June with fellow no-wavers Random Cuts, including the OBEY Convention in Halifax, and their next album is already in utero. Meanwhile, the band is letting their current effort set in its mould, at least for a little while longer.
From the shambolic “Prisoner,” its drums pounding like gunfire, to the sharply cut “Sapphire,” Rituals is grippingly dark and primitive. Summoning a tribal energy perfectly suited to the album’s title, the tracks sound like they were chewed up, gargled with gutter water and spat back out.
The songwriting process is simple. A machine of perpetual motion, the band is constantly jamming and recording the results. “We just piece things together until it’s long enough,” Van Wyck says, only partly serious. “It’s improv.”