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Pinegrove's 'Intrepid' Explodes Just As Far As You Can See The Universe

Pinegrove performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR
Pinegrove performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.

Pinegrove's Cardinalwas a messy and charming debut that felt with exacting detail. There's a sense of restlessness in it, run through the twinkly pangs of emo-twang. Go to any live show, or just watch the band's Tiny Desk Concert, and the crowd's sing-alongs are more than just mouthing to their favorite songs — it's living them. That's largely why Cardinalwas one of NPR Music's best albums of 2016.

The band led by Evan Stephens Hall is getting ready to release an as-yet-untitled new album in 2018, and it sounds like he's moving beyond small-circle concerns.

"One of the things this album explores is the emotional and creative experience of geometric space," Hall writes in a press release. "'Intrepid,' in particular, considers distance and the outer rim of the magnet's pull; how the size of the world can bring our personal relationships into focus."

"Intrepid" doesn't stray far from Pinegrove's sound, but now Hall has more command over his voice. "Take a rectangle / Untangle your head," he sings like an acrobat swinging through ivy, stretching out the the last syllable with a loose grip until he falls into into the harmony: "Intrepid." The band often gets compared to early Wilco, but with this I hear the comfort-blanket croon of Archer Prewitt fronting American Football — a hang-dog rhythm swept up in an all-or-nothing performance, exploded just as far your eye can see the universe.

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