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Saturday October 25, 2014
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Pinmonkey

 

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cultivates a sound that's all about beauty and romanticism.

What strikes you first is the passionate tenor voice of lead singer Michael Reynolds, so unlike the deadpan approach of Gillian Welch or the quirky downbeat gloom of the Bad Livers' Danny Barnes. Reynolds lands vocally in a great spot halfway between bluegrass high tenor and middle-of-the-road balladeer, with piercing tremolo rather than soothing vibrato as its primary ornament of intensification, and yet a sweetness that brings British Invasion pop to mind. His voice makes Pinmonkey's music seem familiar on the second hearing, and sometimes on the first.

The sound that backs Reynolds is based on the combination of electric guitar shadings with splashes of acoustic color that defines alt-country, but band members also contribute gentle harmonies that, for anyone who lived through the 1970s, will evoke the Eagles. It may seem strange, even with the reuse-and-recycle aesthetic of today's music, that soft country-rock of the 1970s should have come around again once more, but there is certainly a good deal of it in Pinmonkey's carefully smoothed-out sound.

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Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.