The first thing you picture upon hearing “Baby Bhangs”, the lead song on the new album Wild Nights from the British band PINS, is not four women grinding it out on their instruments in a smoky London club, but a full-on aural assault from an electric sky. Raining down effortlessly cool vocals, a fiery lead guitar hook, and a pounding rhythm section, PINS takes no prisoners on this strong opener. There’s an immediately accessible, straightforward, rock and roll approach to their sound, and the lack of pretension is refreshing. “Heaven, hell, it’s all the same” lead singer Faith Holgate sings. Whether intended or not, this one insightful line accurately encompasses the overall tone of Wild Nights’ lyrical content. This is a band that walks the line between good and evil, pleasure and pain, and love and hate exceedingly well.
The songs “Oh Lord” and “Dazed By You”, arguably the two weakest on this collection, appear back to back, and bridge a tricky gap between the strong trio of songs that open the record and the dynamic, affecting second half. Wild Nights offers a variety of musical styles without abandoning the band’s core emotional charge thanks mostly to Holgate’s confident vocals and sincere writing. That’s not to say the rest of the band isn’t holding up their end of things. The psych-tinged “Molly”, the bouncy “If Only”, the dreamy love hangover “Got It Bad”, and the angry “Too Little Too Late” all exemplify PINS’ instrumental proficiency, sounding tight and capable. The bulk of songs feature stellar guitar work and an intuitive bass and drum combination that has the group toying with tempo, and occasionally pulling back in order to showcase a radiant solo or well-placed, distorted squelch.
The album’s ender “Everyone Says” is a devastating ballad about being in a romantic relationship outsiders interpret as untenable. The song’s stripped down production renders Faith Holgate exposed and vulnerable. Her voice, once powerful and confident, now sounding desperate and pleading. “What do they know that I don’t know?” she begs repeatedly. It’s an exceptional moment and a brilliant closer. Earlier on in Wild Nights, the chorus of “Young Girls” has Holgate asking, “What will we do when our dreams come true?” It’s a prophetic lyric that resonates most vividly after the album has concluded. If there’s any truth to the theory that simply affirming a wish can make it real, PINS may indeed have to consider what they’ll do when their dreams come true.