Bleed It Dry
By: Eric Greenwood
Pinehurst Kids express teen angst and common sentimentality in far less obnoxious ways than peers and emo darlings, the Get Up Kids, despite the similarly poppy punk formula. Songwriter Joe Davis has a lightly strained voice when he punches it, and he writes poignant guitar hooks to match such vocal earnestness. Davis' shamelessly personal lyrical style is delivered in such tightly wound couplets that it's easy to ignore the mushy content, particularly when the music explodes, as it often does in its safe and tuneful way.
For their third album the Pinehurst Kids have sharpened all the dull edges that dogged previous releases: the music is tighter, catchier, and much more potent. Fans of pogo-in-place-pop-punk like Superchunk will be particularly pleased with the results. It's such harmless music you will be hard-pressed not to bob your head or at least tap your feet, even if you are cringing at the open-faced emotional display. The band straddles the line of cheese when the beats per minute slow down ("No Show"), but that's practically a given, as few bands ever master the art of the slow burner.
The Pinehurst Kids have yet to blow up the way many critics predicted after the band's debut, Minnesota Hotel, but being since labeled underdogs has evidently fuelled Davis' determination to prove them all wrong (or right depending on how you look at it). Bleed It Dry does its job in terms of showcasing the Pinehurst Kids' strengths at their best. "Spinning Out" alternates between an infectious guitar jangle and a vaporous chorus that never loses its rocking core. "Deconstruct" bolts out of the gate at top speed, but Davis' melodic ear manages to weave another instantly hummable chorus out of hammering riffs.
Energetic pop punk is as common as an argyle sweater on a Weezer fan, but pop punk that is melodic, succinct, catchy, and aggressive is noteworthy. Bleed It Dry is not an emotionally arresting or groundbreaking album, and it certainly won't be in your top ten of the year. However, the Pinehurst Kids come through on the promising signs of its first two albums. The future looks bright if Davis doesn't talk himself out of it.