We often talk about entertainment as a means to escape the harsh realities of life. Music, in particular, seems to be the easiest getaway car for the proverbial escape. At the risk of sounding cliche or making your eyes roll, music has always been that and more for me. But now that I’m older, I spend less time running from the issues and more time riding them out. A road trip, if you will. What’s any road trip without a killer soundtrack? Well, Soul Step Records thought of that and has offered up another round of In The Pines by way of their latest album Impossible Daze.
I really don’t know a lot about In The Pines as a band. Even when I covered their Slow Blink album, my introduction came from hype stickers and social media posts. That’s not to say I don’t care, but going in without preconceived opinions really helped to pull me in. In The Pines knack for experimentation and vast influences made Slow Blink one of my favorite records of the year.
But now they’re back with their third full-length album Impossible Daze. And after another weird year of unpleasantness, it’s not a moment too soon!
Right off the bat with the opening track “Bird Song”, the band’s vibe has obviously changed. Gone is the fuzzy Tame Impala-esque psychedelics and replaced with a mature breeziness. “Indifferent” rocks the boat a little with a Kurt Vile flavored rock n’ roll shuffle. “Sweet Darlin” introduces an almost southern rock aesthetic and a step closer in “Avoid Myself”. This is one delightfully bizarre road trip, to say the least, but that’s a good thing.
As stated earlier, I absolutely love the weird and wild, but there’s something undeniably satisfying about the maturity In The Pines showcase in Impossible Daze. This is a band that isn’t afraid to stretch out emotionally as much as they once experimented sonically. The delicate moments in “Well I’ll Be” and “In My Dreams” don’t come at the cost of the band’s pre-established chemistry. There is absolutely no somber dreariness to be had.
Even in the lo-fi demo quality closers, In The Pines are just as fun as they ever were. But I think now they have a slightly better handle on who they are as artists.
I think it’s worth noting that Soul Step Records as a label has grown quite a bit as well. As they broader their horizons with their roster of artists, so have I. So hearing In The Pines mature and evolve into something else, just feels right. It’s not every day a label, band, and listener grows simultaneously like this. We’re all running from or to something but I’m grateful for the self-awareness to understand the journey is far more important than the destination. Maybe that’s the meaning of Impossible Daze?
For more information on In The Pines, follow them on Bandcamp.
To purchase Impossible Daze on limited edition vinyl, please visit Soul Step Records.