Needles//Pins – 12:34

Review by Andrew Patterson

It has been, presumably, a very long time since genres really meant anything. Long before the total collapse of the music industry at large and sometime after the appearance of Moondog, pop music, for all intents and purposes, became boundless. Thanks to cross-cultural pollination, various technological advances and the general public’s ever-expanding tolerance for and fascination with total weirdos, many a sounds and images, shapes and sizes have sought refuge under the pop umbrella. This, of course, is a wonderful thing: it results in ridiculous records, bizarre concepts, unheard-of recording techniques and, ultimately, unbelievable sounds (some very good and some very bad).

On the flip side, there is a purity that has persisted since the dawning of ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’, since the mainspring that is ‘Maybellene’. There is a certain formula that remains, at once, incredibly familiar and oddly elusive, that people keep trying over and over. And when it’s right, we as pop music fans simply cannot refuse it. Hell, we can’t get enough of it.

That being said…

If you’ve ever bopped along to a blitzkrieg or run around with the little town flirt, if you’ve always thought that Mr. Mustard wasn’t such a bad guy after all, if you know what I mean when I say “A-wop-bop a-loo-bop A-wop bam boom”, then know that Needles//Pins are for you. The Vancouver three-piece has zeroed in on ‘the formula’ and use it relentlessly.

‘But, like, how?’ you wonder.

Listening to 12:34, it seems really (REALLY) simple: one person hits drums in perfect time, one person plays bass real clean-like and one person wags his head, strums powerchords and shouts bratty things about cigarettes, girls, feelings, etc. for no more than three-minutes at a time.

And somehow, this is it. This is one of the most compulsively listenable records I’ve heard all year. I think it has something to do with ‘guts’.