We first met London-based rock trio PINUP supporting The Dead XIII and our pals in City of Ashes back in late 2017. At that time they’d just released debut single Teeth, but they’ve since established a name for themselves with their energetic live show before releasing their debut EP in February.
The trio first began when Ryder Ataxia and Zoë Skinner met back in 2015, started a band that didn’t work out, then he asked her to play drums for his solo project that quickly became PINUP. They spent a year or so trialling bassists and developing their sound before eventually completing the lineup with Amir Smith.
Zoë describes the PINUP’s music to us as “like if Quentin Tarantino directed a band” and describes their sound as “Sexy, catchy and intense,” which alone should have you hooked. And that comes across in leaps and bounds on the debut EP Alt Milk.
It opens up in fine fashion with the delicious Trash Talk and Tonic, which begins with big guitars that drop into an opening verse supported by darting riffs. A cool chorus of call and answer vocals between Ryder and Zoë follows, then a funky little guitar twist. The second chorus ends on a big smash of heavy guitars then a dirty little guitar riff under edgier vocals.
That’s followed by the excellent Temple of Gods, which opens up with stabbing guitars and bass that continue through an engaging opening verse that ends on the line “I’m feeling like a dog in heat.” The pace picks up as it launches into the singalong chorus “I’m a temple of Gods, Just a traitor, I’m not what I wanted to be ‘cos I lost my heart, Hynoptised by the lights as they flash by the eyes of the road, And the sun has left my periphery.” A cool smash of guitars answered by little QOTSA-esque guitar twists links back into another verse. Check it out in the video below:
And the big rockiness keeps coming with the lively Teeth, which opens with big guitars then drops into a verse of vocals supported by a stabbing bass. The guitars kick in again under more intense vocals then a delicious spinning guitar lick kicks in between cries of “Give in to shapes and shivers, She turned before he bit her.” Another blast of guitars feeds into a more upbeat verse, which builds towards an extended chorus that ends on a guitar solo. Check it out below:
When hearing closing track Weather the Storm live I remarked it was “a fun, rocky almost Nirvana-like sounding track.” And on hearing the recorded version I don’t think I was too far wrong, although perhaps there’s more of a QOTSA vibe here. It starts with fuzzy guitars that continue through a laid-back verse then bursts into a chorus of vocals answered by darting riffs. That builds up to a lively ending led by a big guitar solo that drops into vocals alongside multiple layers of guitar support.
On the EP, Zoë told us: “The response has been great, everyone seems to have loved it. We’ve had messages from people around the world telling us they want us to play in their city.
“Anyone who hasn’t heard Alt Milk can expect world-class production, powerful riffs and catchy choruses. It’s vintage but fresh, loaded with pop culture references. It has a nostalgic narrative and it’s a classic road trip soundtrack.”
Their sound is heavily inspired by the 1990s California desert rock scene and Americana, with a specific focus on Stevie Ray Vaughan for the blues, Queens of the Stone Age for the unapologetic swagger, Pulp for the tongue-in-cheek lyrical narrative and My Chemical Romance for the fury.
As Zoë explains: “Our music goes against the grain in a retrospective way. We think there’s a lack of bands doing stadium rock and we take influence in our music and live performance from stadium bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s classy with a punk edge.”
There’s plenty to look forward to from PINUP this year too. They’ll have new music out later this year, lyric videos coming out for track on Alt Milk, as well as running a crowdfunding campaign and giving fans a chance to be in their first official music video. They also have a tour coming up with some of their fellow Essex Recording Studios pals and plenty more shows to be announced.