The Birthday Massacre – Pins And Needles
Record Label: Metropolis Records
Release Date: September 14, 2010
After being a band for 11 years, Toronto, Canada’s synth rock female-fronted group The Birthday Massacre have returned with their fourth album, Pins And Needles. Like their other records, Pins And Needles is dark, paced by heavy guitars and synthesizer behind Chibi’s hypnotic vocals. Musically, the band members compliment her strong vocals delicately – each drum beat and guitar strum is placed precisely while the overall synth uses adds backbone to the record.
The eerie “In The Dark” begins Pins And Needles with Chibi’s soaring vocals over hypnotic instrumentation throughout. “Always” picks up where the opener left off with soft haunting piano play before creeping into chimes. The low synth creates a dark feel to the track; however, Chibi’s vocals are calm and relaxed throughout the track. “Pale” is as gloomy as the record gets lyrically while “Control” is an upbeat poppy song exemplifying the skill of keyboardist Owen and guitar players Rainbow and Falcore.
Vocally, “Sideways” conveys the range of Chibi, as her vocals dominate the track. Drummer Rhim works with bassist O.E. on “Midnight” to establish the overall heaviness of the track; likewise, title track “Pins And Needles” and “Two Hearts” are as heavy as the record gets, driven by distorted guitars behind Chibi’s melodic, eerie vocals. Closer “Secret” presents a new feel to Pins And Needles. From the intricate piano play to Chibi’s high vocals over soft drum beats, the track is well crafted musically, fitting Chibi’s vocals wonderfully. However, the hindrance to the closer is simply the way that it never builds speeds and lifts off from the beginning.
Prevalent throughout the final track, monotony is the culprit on The Birthday Massacre’s fourth record. This far into their career, it would have been best for them to experiment more rather than utilize the same sound throughout PAN. The result of this sameness only makes the record drag on; the record simply produces no true memorable tracks, as each one sounds incredibly similar to every other track on the record.
While yes, The Birthday Massacre are again able to weld their instruments around Chibi’s eccentric vocals, Pins And Needles simply falls short of what the band should be producing this far into their career. The record simply sounds incredibly similar throughout its entirety, showing a lack of diversity within the band's sound. Perhaps on their next album, The Birthday Massacre won’t play it so safe, experimenting more with their pre-established sound; nevertheless, Pins And Needles will simply be skipped over by many until this can be accomplished.