PINS’ ‘Hot Slick’ Is A Prophecy

Manchester trio PINS’ transition to dancey bangers for their electric third album will get you hot and sweaty on the dancefloor. Or, for now… your bedroom floor.

PINS are a band I really should’ve got into sooner. Having seen them both at Truck Festival and supporting Black Honey in 2018, only getting into them now seems inexcusable. Fortunately, this is perhaps my best time. Their new album Hot Slick goes hard. Its leading singles ‘Hot Slick’, ‘Bad Girls Forever’, and ‘Ponytail’ were live fixtures back in 2018, with their live presence only matched by the previous single ‘Serve The Rich’. Honestly, listening to that song, it feels almost like a Hot Slick teaser, being so tonally similar.

But now we are where we are, I know that PINS are awesome, and I have their new album on the turntable in front of me. Let’s get to it.

The opening trio of ‘Hot Slick’, ‘Bad Girls Forever’, and ‘Ponytail’ are a clear statement of intent for the record. Polished, simple, disco stompers. It’s a huge departure from their indie background and not one that I can begrudge. When the tracks are this catchy and danceable, nobody really has any right to complain. I’ve already gushed about ‘Ponytail’ in particular in a past article, and everything I say there holds true across all three tracks.

Sure, the lyrics aren’t nuanced. Hell, you get four different lines across all four minutes and forty-three seconds of the title track. It doesn’t matter, regardless of what the Guardian’s review may say. Not every album has to be heartfelt and emotional or pressingly political. It is enough to make music to have a good time too, and that has absolutely been achieved. You’ll probably be able to catch having said good time at their planned Bedford Esquires show, assuming that live music restarts before November (please Boris? For me?).

Moving onwards through the album, it chills out briefly towards the middle. ‘Daisies’ effortlessly melds slowed-down trap-ish beats with chiming guitars and an oddly melodic (yet piercing) synth, to form what could be an ideal tune for your lazing around summer playlists. The vibe is almost akin to the start of Confidence Man’s ‘Out The Window’ before that tune turns into one of the biggest party bangers of the last…. probably forever. Ahem.

‘After Hours’ and ‘Set Me Off’ straddle the fence of relaxation and dancey sass. They feel like the breakup and rebound, equally chanty and attitude-laden, but with the focuses changing from internal to external, if that makes any sense. Sure, you aren’t boogieing. That doesn’t mean you’re stationary or bored, though.

Don’t fear though, the disco stompers are still present. ‘Read My Lips’ is another one of the tracks that have been a live staple for a couple of years, and it doesn’t take a genius to tell why. ‘One hundred of me dancing over you’ may be difficult to achieve given the limitations of current cloning technology, but it’s certainly how you’ll feel, being buoyed by driving synths and strict, stompy beats. ‘Ghosting’ is in a similar vein, with bustling sequencers keeping the energy right up. It’s unashamedly eighties in all the best ways. The sheer energy of the post-bridge breakdown, mixing all the past electronic elements with filthy guitars is quite simply, glorious. PINS’ voice is a declaration that, while the sound has definitely moved on since their last two albums, the band are not renouncing their indie roots irrespective of how far they move from them.

‘Love You To Death’ is perhaps the most unique track on the record. Featuring vocal work from Leather Party, it feels half samba party and half retro-futurist arcade game. Honestly, I’m not too sure what else to say about this track beyond that vague description. Definitely not the strongest track on the album, but it’s hardly bad.

The album ends with a bang on ‘Bad Habits’. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Killing Eve (currently on iPlayer. Watch it!), if there even is such a thing, but it feels very Unloved-inspired (Just listen to the start of ‘After Dinner‘). That tambourine is practically dripping in reverb. It’s certainly a more considered and indie song, with synths relegated to a backup role behind the prominent bass and aforementioned percussion. The clandestine sentiment of a hidden relationship really gels with the tonality, and again I’m thinking about Killing Eve. I swear if they don’t meet again in the finale…

Overall, Hot Slick is not an album for those who consider themselves the cognoscente, who sniff their fancy wines and look down upon such mortal concerns as ‘fun’. The predominant intention of the record seems to be to get people moving and to have a good time – and on that metric, it is fantastic. If you can’t deal with that, get off my dancefloor.


Hot Slick is available now wherever you like to stream things, and available physically in all good record stores, or on the band’s Bandcamp.

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