Pinegrove's Cardinal was a messy and charming debut that felt with exacting detail. There's a sense of restlessness in it, run through the twinkly pangs of emo-twang. Go to any live show, or just watch the band's Tiny Desk Concert, and the crowd's sing-alongs are more than just mouthing to their favorite songs — it's living them. That's largely why Cardinal was one of NPR Music's best albums of 2016.
The band led by Evan Stephens Hall is getting ready to release an as-yet-untitled new album in 2018, and it sounds like he's moving beyond small-circle concerns.
"One of the things this album explores is the emotional and creative experience of geometric space," Hall writes in a press release. "'Intrepid,' in particular, considers distance and the outer rim of the magnet's pull; how the size of the world can bring our personal relationships into focus."
"Intrepid" doesn't stray far from Pinegrove's sound, but now Hall has more command over his voice. "Take a rectangle / Untangle your head," he sings like an acrobat swinging through ivy, stretching out the the last syllable with a loose grip until he falls into into the harmony: "Intrepid." The band often gets compared to early Wilco, but with this I hear the comfort-blanket croon of Archer Prewitt fronting American Football — a hang-dog rhythm swept up in an all-or-nothing performance, exploded just as far your eye can see the universe.