Off-kilter art rock from San Diego duo

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Pinback – Summer In Abaddon

Talking Heads’ quirky angularity has become a touchstone for US college bands like Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie, and this third album from Armistead Smith and Rob Crow follows a similar route. At their best (“Non Photo-Blue”, “Fortress”) Pinback unite complexity with conventional AM radio guitar pop to lilting effect. But for all their deft intricacies, they’re somewhat characterless?this doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping. Yelping choruses attempt to compensate, but it only sounds forced and overstrained. Too much maths, not enough magic.