Second Amendment by Pinkunoizu brings together the worries produced by the band's first effort Free Time. Where their debut held a sheen of psychedelic haze in front of well crafted pop-punk, Second Amendment takes that kaleidoscope of sheen and pushes it to the forefront of everything else.
That's not to say that this isn't a good EP, quite the contrary, and it marks out the direction that the band seems to prefer. Already the band have started work on the follow up album to Free Time, and it seems that this record makes a statement about where the band as a whole are heading.
We start with 'The Abyss Part II', a sequel to the brooding song off their debut, which ended with a T-Rex like jam. It would be hard to link the two songs together apart from the ending of 'Part II', which echoes the guitars of the previous one. Now, however, they are distorted, broken, and interspersed with harsh electronic tones. We then dive straight into 'Moped', a hypnotic, pulsating reminder that even if Pinkunoizu do go down this experimental road, it's actually no bad thing at all, as they've got the tools and abilities to do it all pretty well anyway. Charming and calculated, the melody lulls you into believing that what we have is a monotonous loop with washed out drums, before Jaleh Negari (who takes a more prominent vocal role on the EP this time around) raises our ears out of the swirling vortex of sound at just the right moment. 'I Chi' is a peculiar beast, with a guitar line seemingly straight out of Adam Ant's 'Prince Charming;, a flute melody looping itself around some beautiful vocals, and all this before the song deteriorates piece by piece, until only the sound of a cascading piano notes echo alone.
We then dive straight into the claustrophobic 'Gospel of John', which again, strikes all the right notes, and puts to bed any worries about the direction the band have taken. Gone are the pop-sensibilities, and in its place, a greater focus on creating atmosphere and instead of using vocals as a prop, their infrequency stress their importance in the areas they do appear. For instance, they die without warning in 'Gospel of John', and from here the song is swept away by a flurry of samples and rhythmic drums and bass sounds. The last song comes across as more conservative, perhaps only down to the fact the rest of the EP is so different to what the band has done before. Pinkunoizu are a band comfortable with taking rock beats and exploring what can be done inside of them to best suit their needs. Here, on 'Tin Can Valley', dual guitars noodle in and around each other before fading out and closing the EP.
The Second Amendment itself is all about the right to bear arms. One can't help but feel that this EP would better suit the First Amendment, the right to free speech, as that seems much more fitting for a band who have decided to pursue one angle of music shown on their debut more than another. In particular, an angle that isn't as immediately as accessible. But, sure, you know what, whatever these guys go on to do next, you can be sure it's going to have a lot of heart. When I reviewed Free Time around a year ago, another worry I had was whether or not they'd manage to capture the feeling of spontaneity that would so benefit their sound. A million times over, they've got that feeling under their belts now.