Sean Pinchin: Monkey Brain Review

Toronto-based Sean Pinchin’s forthcoming album Monkey Brain is fun, serious and full of individuality – much as its creator appears to be. Pinchin’s fifth album to date, Monkey Brain is, like its immediate predecessor Rust Bucket, a vote of confidence for the durability of today’s independent artists. From the title track opener through the eighth and final song “Get Burned,” Monkey Brain touches upon the ups and downs relatable to most artists and listeners.

It’s the lyrics in “Hard Luck” and “Get Burned” that tap into such universal themes as frustration and helplessness – though these themes alone do not define the album. Instead, they’re temporarily felt, much like the bewilderment in “Living in the Past” and the ecstatic freedom in “Goin’ Hobo.” Part of the fun of Monkey Brain is the rollicking tempo that drives the album forward: with a hint of the Black Keys in the opening riff on “Get Burned” and a splash of ZZ Top (whom Pinchin has been known to cover) attitude in “Hard Luck,” Pinchin adapts the musical elements of his influences that work best for him, creating his own unique sound. Of course, tempo alone doesn’t make a good album – and while the lyrical substance on “Can’t Stand It” falls short (the repetition of the phrase “can’t stand it” gets boring in the chorus and then obnoxious when it’s uttered 18 times in the song’s final minute), the raw feeling on tracks like “Charity Case,” “Living in the Past” and “Get Burned” sound honestly felt and experienced.

At times wacky (“My head starts to change / I give in to my monkey brain”) and consistently dedicated to the music (not every artist is willing to “go hobo” for his or her craft), Monkey Brain is a quick rocker with hints of the blues in guitar riffs, shuffle rhythms and lyrical themes. Set for an independent release on March 18, Monkey Brain feels like a project with a vision – one Pinchin carefully imagined and hopes his listeners will share.

The Review: 7/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Monkey Brain
– Goin’ Hobo
– Get Burned

The Big Hit

– Get Burned

Review by Meghan Roos

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