After a slew of great singles The Pink Stones’ debut arrives and its a tender-hearted gem among the new class of Cosmic Country. The Athens band captures a nice swath of past masters, picking from Gram Parsons’ school of melancholia, The First National Band’s winking charms, and New Riders’ sense of groove. Hunter Pinkston’s vocals sluice through the heart with a curled twang and a hangdog earnestness, while the band behind him prove powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline, to paraphrase Duck Dunn. Look no further than “Barroom Blues’ to prove the point there, a dance floor filler that’s equal parts Commander Cody and My Morning Jacket circa 2003. The harmonies lace in between the no-frills guitar and the afternoon ache of John Neff’s pedal steel swoons. While more than a few songs bend the brew through a quivered filter, at their heart the Stones are a rock solid last call crew that can close down the bar every night with a consistency that keeps you coming back.
I’ve been no stranger to the latter day lean towards a new run on the Cosmic Americana crown, and while others have gone for the starkness of the private press bin or the Crazy Horse careen that gnarls the genre into something less vulnerable, The Pink Stones have shaped their record to hook the Wilco lifers and L.A. canyon cowboys alike. While it was forged in the South, there’s a pretty clear affinity with the kind of salt-scrubbed, palm-tree pining swagger that’s been creeping out of L.A. lately, letting the band fall in easily with Mapache and Pacific Range as often as they’d lock aesthetics with other displaced inland twangers like Teddy and the Rough Riders. It’s a solid debut that sets them as one’s to look out for in the coming years. If you’ve been riding this current cosmic wave, then this one should be on the turntable as soon as possible.
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