By: Eric G.
Having ‘kids’ in your band’s name is kind of a stigma these days in light of the whole emo/punk debacle (the Getup Kids, etc.), but the Pinehurst Kids really have nothing to do with that unfortunate genre, excepting the aforementioned name problem. Pinehurst Kids are a trio from Portland, Oregon, who play a grunge-infused version of power pop, replete with semi-downer lyrics and naive, teen angst. No random time changes or tuneless vocals for this band. Just simple chord progressions and lots of energy. The songwriting can be middling at times, which is the primary drawback of Viewmaster, but the band shows enough promise to overlook such faults.
Sometimes leader Joe Davis overcomes the run of the mill power pop formula to infuse some distinct emotions. He’s got the chops- it’s just that occasionally the lines get blurry. His voice tends to blend into the background because it’s kind of thin and strained, and his lyrics rely too much on emotional cliche (“Burn Alone”). Viewmaster takes a few listens before it starts rocking, and even then it’s not until you’re a handful of tracks into it. “Evil Mirror” has a classic pop hook, reminiscent of early Cars with that muted guitar chugging in the verse. The title track may be overly long, but it’s got the right amount of tension, building at a subtle pace. “Don’t Worry” sounds like Built To Spill, which is never a bad thing.
This is the Pinehurst Kids’ second full length, and at this rate their next record should be the one that sets them apart. As it is now, the band has yet to shed much of the ‘early years’ aspects of its songwriting and playing.