Marigold – Pinegrove
★ ★ ★
Pinegrove have always been Evan Hall’s band. He is the primary lyricist, songwriter and the face of the band in the press. There’s a good reason for this. What made Pinegrove so engaging when they released their debut album Cardinal in 2016 was Hall’s ability to tell stories about trite, almost cliché subjects with a novel sensitivity. Tracing Pinegrove’s fortunes after Cardinal requires far more column inches but, in short, they reached an unprecedented level of success before allegations against Hall of sexual coercion delayed tours and an album release. It’s worth noting that Hall’s hiatus only ended with the approval of his former partner.
It’s impossible to separate Marigold from this narrative. The album opens with references to wreckages, crossing borders and bracing through a “polar vortex. Hall’s vocals crack and strain in the most disarming way. ‘Moment’ shows his full range as he is deftly propped up by a female harmony, managing to briefly recapture the majesty of Cardinal. Lyrically also, his writing can still be singular; ‘Spiral’ is an amphibrach, a tool Hall uses to devastating effect. However, a few glimpses of brilliance isn’t enough to save an album that should never have been about redemption. Hall scratches a wound that he thought was an itch.
Niall O’Shaughnessy – Former Music Editor