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Pinback Au Naturale 

Smith (left) and Crow (right), deep within the realm of sickly soul.Pinback is a band of human beings. We suspected as much, but we had

click to enlarge Smith (left) and Crow (right), deep within the realm of sickly soul.
  • Smith (left) and Crow (right), deep within the realm of sickly soul.
Smith (left) and Crow (right), deep within the realm of sickly soul.
Pinback is a band of human beings. We suspected as much, but we had to see it to believe it.

The members of the San Diego-based band have a reputation for superhumanly intelligent melody and prolificacy, and their sound on studio recordings is a strangely precise exercise in dense, viscerally ethereal, rock-bred think-pop.

The essential complexity of Pinback sprouted even more facets for Sound Check last Wednesday night, when core members Rob Crow and Zack Smith brought three road players to Bend for a show at the Domino Room.

Crow was sick as a dog, with signs that Smith was suffering from a similar ailment. Crow apologized in advance for the show's short duration (70 minutes or so), citing his sickness.

There were technical problems - sampler malfunctions, to be exact - and the band did its share of misplacing lyrics, botching vocals and such, contrasting starkly with the pristine character of their studio material.

Still, the show's flaws and general air of adversity did little but add soul to the whole experience. A sped-up version of latest album Autumn of the Seraphs' "Good to Sea" and the same album's normally blazing opener, "From Nothing to Nowhere," stood with the springy 2004 favorite "Fortress" as the show's most provocative numbers. Slower songs like the desperate "Devil You Know" and more obscure ones like "Penelope" did their part to hypnotize the crowd into awed submission.

It was finally clear that Pinback's godlike musical allure had won out over its pesky, mucous-addled humanity when a wide-eyed mob of autograph-seekers gathered eagerly around Crow on his way off the stage after the last notes, totally heedless of his pathogens. -Jeff Trainor


Check out the Blender blog for photos and video from the Pinback show.

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