Pinch Points – ‘Process’ review: Riveting post-punk that seethes with righteous anger

On their second album, the Melbourne four-piece stare down societal dysfunction with the help of producer Anna Laverty

Pinch Points are in fine fettle on their second album ‘Process’. The four-piece wield noodling, wiry guitars and lacerating lyrics, their middle fingers raised to social injustices – climate crisis, Indigenous deaths in custody – that were only magnified in the turmoil of pandemic closures, job losses and industry shutdowns.

Recorded in Melbourne’s Coburg in March last year, the follow-up to 2019 debut ‘Moving Parts’ was co-produced and mixed by Anna Laverty, who honed her production skills on releases by Bloc Party, Florence and The Machine and Depeche Mode while in London. She’s since worked with Melbourne’s indie rock royalty in Camp Cope and Courtney Barnett.

Pinch Points are a riveting live band, which Laverty helps capture on ‘Process’. Adam Smith and Jordan Oakley play melodious yet gnarly guitars while Acacia Coates and Smith deliver intermingling harmonies in thunderous bursts of verse. Whether it’s frenzied, slashing, abrasive yowling walls of sound on ‘King Rat’, or jangly, shoegazer-on-steroids noodling on ‘Relentlessly Positive’, Smith’s 00s Gibson SG and Oakley’s Yamaha SC300T deserve credits as band members in their own right.

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On ‘Anxious’, Coates spits “I get anxious, I get anxious” over a pregnant silence before blitzing guitar riffs and hoof-kicking drums smash in and send the song into overdrive. “I get anxious when I’m not at home, I get anxious when I don’t have my phone, I get anxious when I go outside, I get anxious when I go online” begins the list of breakdown triggers. The seemingly wonderful modern conveniences of food delivery services, high-speed WiFi and electric scooters turn into a list of potential catastrophes for the over-loaded nervous systems of musos in therapy.

The importance of emotional wellbeing threads through the album, not least on ‘Am I Okay?’ which partially celebrates, but perhaps lampoons, the Australian R U OK? Day, in which – for one day of the year only – we are encouraged to ask one another the simple question. As ferocious as their half-spat delivery can be elsewhere, there is sanctuary to be found in the sonic textures, such as the melodic, spangly guitars of ‘Am I Okay?’.

Those guitars have a whisper of Sonic Youth to them, but Pinch Points more so evoke the melodiousness of Pixies or the smarts of Kim Deal’s messier, more cult-favourite band the Breeders. Throw in some sardonic Mudhoney angst and guitar-wielding mayhem and the ’90s references are complete.

Coates furthers the sense of solace on ‘Am I Okay?’, reassuring listeners: “You matter, you matter to me. I know that feelings come and go, but if they don’t, I want you to know that I’m here.” Perhaps ‘Process’ is just the salve we need for all these modern anxieties.

Details

Pinch Points album Process review
  • Release date: March 18
  • Record label: Mistletone
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