No Depression, Jan/Feb 2003


Christian Gibbs has been around for over a decade, playing with acts as diverse as Modern English and Foetus. He also fronted the Morning Glories. Now based in New York City, Gibbs shows off both his songwriting smarts and the high caliber of his musical compatriots on The Pinkerman Set.

There are shades of Nick Cave in the deep resonance of his voice, but he uses it toward his own idiosyncratic ends. “Oversized Pin Cushion” opens the proceedings with fleshy guitar layers and a vocal that starts out with the everyman ease of Peter Lewis (OK, I was playing the first Moby Grape album again this week, there’s no stopping me) before pulling on a ski mask and threatening possible danger. “Tall Shoe Marie” melds Waits-like arrangement flourishes to a music hall chorus that sends cinematic vignettes flashing through your mind.

Elsewhere, guitar-bass-drums kick around the fringes of power-pop with enough flair and verve to move to the valedictorian seat of the class. The lyrics throughout bristle with sharp-focused intensity. A couplet such as, “The ribcage endears keeping the pain/Holding it in while letting it crave” flows with an ease that belies the care taken in its creation.