Pinnacles have been elusive figures in the math rock community, their 2013 debut Automaton being both hideously under-rated and seldom publicised. In a sense the Nevada City four-piece are waiting to be discovered. Like their contemporaries Shelflife and newcomers Gloe, Pinnacles are a band striving to combine the drone-y and somber elements of shoegaze; the punchy, hook-driven traits of alternative rock; and the hyperactive nature of math rock. And in their sophomore effect Convolve and Reflect there appears to be a good balance between the three.
Convolve and Reflect uses reverberating vocal harmonies, slow tempo, ambient soundscapes and guitar-rich neo-psychedelia to create a dreamy cerebral experience in nine parts. The album certainly has an underpinning shoegaze/slowcore vibe, but it also delivers bold melodic hooks throughout. The coherency of these hooks is almost always twisted into a complex time signature, transcending the gaze realm and moving more into progressive and math territory. The harmonious but slightly off-kilter chord progressions in sections of ‘Collapse’ and ‘Empath’ immediately spring to mind here. At other times, Convolve and Deflect takes on the simple alternative rock attributes of the Smashing Pumpkins or similar, particularly in tracks like ‘Sinking vs Sourcing’. It’s a slow and thunderous ride, often delivered with mind-bending meters.
Convolve and Deflect is never drab, never cliche and never overwhelming; which gaze, alt-rock and math music can (respectively) become when executed poorly. No, Pinnacles execute the components of each with respectable precision, forming a nice symbiosis of the three. You’ll be gazing down at your shoes, but with a smile on your face and your head bopping irregularly.
Progressive, Shoegaze, Ambient, Ethereal, Dreamy, Math Rock