Pins - Manchester Soup Kitchen
Once upon a time there were four little girls. (We’ve been here before, right?) They wore (mostly) black. They gave themselves to the night. They danced with the devil and then - well, blow me down if they didn’t go and steal his best tunes from under his nose. The world exploded. The end. Now you remember, right? Hmm. You want more. You want facts! Damn you and your thirst for evidence, inarguable metrics, calculable understanding of what, with too many workaday charlatans laying claim to your time and cash, you might be getting yourself into. “TELL ME WHAT THEY’RE LIKE!” you implore. Right. Okay. Mmm.
They are Faith, Lois, Anna and Lara. Modelling the archetypal and classic formation (vocals/guitar, guitar/vocals, bass, drums), they take the pop classicism of Siouxsie and the Banshees, scuff it up lovingly and stir it into up a heritage-conversant brew. With references to both rock ‘n’ roll’s beginnings (a re-imagining of 50s girl groups a la The Raveonettes) and its subsequent deconstruction (Lois’s spidery guitary lines are pure Velvets), the Pins aesthetic is time-served and irresistible. At this all-day event for Record Store Day, they hit the stage at a bewildering 2pm. With only a handful of gigs to their name, they’re clearly some way from “Do you know who I am?” levels of self-importance. They drag their gear onstage, set up and then giggle through the indignity of having to soundcheck in front of an expectant crowd.
And then they start to play. It would be unfair at this stage to lay claims altogether too lofty. But - whisper it - they're a sliver away from something truly properly special. Plagued by the sound problems from hell, their half hour is punctuated by false starts and endless tinkering with cables and pedals. But they rise above with grace and good humour. When they’re afforded the opportunity to really lock into their blackened groove, stream-lined rather than hesitant, they strike like vipers. With only three songs released to date, most of the set is a mystery but, for now, that’s fine. For once, let’s take it slow. ‘Shoot You’ bludgeons, Faith locked into the rear of the room, the band crackling like lightning behind.
The room quietly fills and Lois asks us to squeeze forward so that everyone can fit in. (Seriously, they’re squashed up into the stairs, craning for a view.) They close with the exquisite ‘Eleventh Hour’, as close to a signature tune as they have to date. It’s A Moment. With one of those hooks that slithers just out of reach, sporting tribal beats and hypnotic, swirling guitars, it’s 1989 again and Pins are odds-on for the top spot in Peel’s Festive 50. Oh, and you know they’re from Manchester, right? No – come back! Have a little faith; simply by virtue of being female, they avoid being A Manchester Band. But, even so, they’re so much more than that.
“Everything louder, please,” asks Faith of the sound desk when Lois asks for more guitar. They should adopt that as their manifesto. Everything Louder. Or simply use it as the title for their first album. Ah. The future lumbers into view with its ridiculous demands and The Music Fix remembers its unwritten pledge to note promise but avoid setting the brightest young things up for an unseemly fall.
So where does that leave us? To date, via an artfully managed campaign of emergence (minimal web presence, two pressings of a three track cassette their only available recordings), Pins are deliciously shadowy. But the buzz is as solid and tangible as you’d hope. Round these parts, we sense something happening, something thrilling and bewitching enough to want to be a part of from the off. Forgive the premature adulation. (It’s never happened before. Honest.)
Come with us on this one. Take those vows, because this lot won’t carry passengers or tolerate a fleeting dalliance. Commit. Dance their merry dance and delight in their devilment. Join them at the cliff edge. (Don’t look down.)