Dissonance as an aesthetic choice is an appealing one to many musicians and listeners alike.

It adds tinges of grit, wary uncertainty and an appealing thrown-togetherness that epitomizes a lot of quality underground punk. It’s become so easy, and inexpensive, to record professional-level demos from a MacBook that at this point, though, dissonance is often just that, a choice, rather than a happy accident at the hands of an amateur setup. If that stuff is there in 2016, chances are good we were meant to hear it.

Pinkwash’s 2015 7-inch Cancer Money resided squarely in that dissonant camp. Those two songs were abrasive and speaker-crackling, with rough, yet calculated riffs, thunderous percussion and screeching, occasionally uncomfortable vocals that shifted from powerful yells to piercing screams. The band felt unhinged, possessed and perhaps most excitingly, difficult to predict. It was something of a departure from their previous EP You Cure Your Soil, a collection of songs whose relative austerity now seems tame by comparison. Usually once a band veers down such a path, there’s no return, but Pinkwash’s latest flies in the face of that convention, too.

The two songs released so far from Pinkwash’s upcoming debut LP Collective Sigh, out May 13 via Don Giovanni, already paint a more well-rounded picture of the duo’s aesthetic and intent than anything else in their catalogue so far. The dissonance is turned way, way down, but underneath, there’s almost a undercurrent of fun coursing through it. These songs prod and bounce in a surprising way; they’re more tuneful and just straightforwardly catchy than expected. Ashley Arnwine’s drums absolutely roar and Joey Doubek shreds in lockstep, creating a dynamic chemistry most duos simply can’t muster. Shoutout to Pinkwash for subverting expectations yet again. Lose your goddamned mind over “Longer Now,” “Metastatic” and “Burning Too” below and pre-order the LP here.

 

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