Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Pinto and the Bean, a rising indie rock group from Chicago, describe their sound quite succinctly: a little band with a not so little sound. The group consists of Paul Taneja and Ivan Sosa, and they’re absolutely correct in their analysis. This duo’s sound is bombastically impressive and defies the established norms of two-piece acts. Their new six track EP, ‘Transit-Eons,’ is an eclectic collection of quality tracks that showcase immense potential.
‘Eagle Kid’ introduces the duo in a simplistic fashion. Both the instrumentation and lyrical content embrace a level of brevity, that is, until they explode out of your speakers at full force. When that happens, an eruption of distorted rock and roll captures your senses in the most unique way possible. Right off the bat, Pinto and the Bean exhibit serious chops.
An intriguing part of ‘Transit-Eons’ is its use of a myriad of influences. ‘Safari’ is a stark contrast to ‘Eagle Kid,’ embracing some African and folk acoustic vibes. My goodness, their harmonies are beautiful, accenting the soft acoustic nature of ‘Safari’ so well. Lyrically, the songs are as well written as they are performed. There are elements of singer songwriters and folkies in their blend, but said blend feels very original.
The acoustic pastures of ‘Safari’ are quickly departed for tight beats and electronic influence. The genre hopping on this record is incredible and ‘Gunshot’ feels like track right off of the cutting room floor of a New Order recording session. It’s also infectiously catchy and stole my heart from the opening notes. ‘Gunshot’ may stand as one of my favorite indie efforts of this year. (And that says quite a bit, coming from a guy inundated with hundreds of indie artists each year.)
‘Better Off Alone’ feels like a compromise between the acoustic feel of ‘Safari’ and the electronic nature of ‘Gunshot.’ It’s a fulfilling fusion and again, their harmonies are beyond noteworthy. It’s also a deeply introspective, slightly dark track about loneliness: something Pinto and the Bean seem to be getting along well enough with.
‘Transit-Eons’ lights an experimentalist candle that remains bright all the way until the end of the experience. The sonic landscapes of ‘Teenage Love’ are reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s recent work - there’s a lot going on. Actually, I’d argue that ‘Teenage Love’ could be swapped with a track from the pinnacle Arcade Fire record, ‘The Suburbs,’ and feel perfectly at home. (That’s a high compliment: that album is tremendously good.)
The worldly vibes of ‘Safari’ return in some capacity for the finale, ‘Beyond The Sun.’ With that said, the final song feels like a culmination of a long journey, one that the listener experiences through Pinto and the Bean on ‘Transit-Eons.’ It’s an eloquent ending to an insanely strong effort.
This album is a must-listen for fans of independent music. It’s inventive, creative as hell, and rewarding to enjoy. I should note that I rarely ever give praise of this magnitude. I’m a harsh critic, and frequent readers of my website know that all too well. Pinto and the Bean, though, are deserving of every ounce of this praise.
Go get the album! Now!