Music Reviews
Free Time

Pinkunoizu Free Time

(Full Time Hobby) Rating - 7/10

Free Time isn't exactly “experimental,” genre-wise, and yet Pinkunoizu is definitely experimenting. Pinkunoizu does something different, often complex, on Free Time without succumbing to its own complexity or becoming inaccessible.

Free Time is taut, consistently interesting and despite their largely non-traditional structures, the songs rarely feel meandering or indulgent. Most impressive are the fantastic poly-rhythms that flourish on every track. Each song features many simultaneous layers, but never sounds busy and Pinkunoizu seems to alter a pitch or tone or add an unexpected syncopation in each measure, just enough to keep the line from stagnating.

Even the few vocal lines become parts of the intricate rhythms more than lyrical melodies. This style is clear from the first track, Time Is Like a Melody, in which the word “melody,” somewhat ironically, is repeated as a form of percussion. The general instrumentation is switched up for other tracks, from the country-style lap steel in Cyborg Manifesto to the electric organ of Everything Is Broken or Stolen.

Parabolic Delusions, one of the few tracks to feature a strong melodic line and verse-chorus structure, initially sounds like the strongest one for this reason, and it is indeed the album's first single. It opens with an electric twang and playful group vocals, throws in some horns and launches into spoken vocals like “There is another server, / There is another servant, / There is another waiter, / There is another waitress.” This lyrical structure continues through the song with increasingly clever lines, lending it a rhythmic quality consistent with the rest of the album.

There are flashes of improvisational excellence, particularly in the latter halves of The Abyss and Somber Ground and the record could have benefited from more of this. As it stands, those tracks go on much too long before allowing the musicians to shine. Similarly, nine-minute Death Is Not A Lover breaks to almost silence after about five and a half minutes and returns with a fundamentally different song, which by the eighth minute, is wholly different in tone and style. Two songs, at the respectable lengths of five and four minutes, would have better served the album.

Where Free Time abounds in technical strength and musicianship, it lacks somewhat in emotional resonance. Beyond echoes of its infectious rhythms, it doesn't haunt or beg another spin. For an album theoretically or philosophically obsessed with time (or time-signatures) it is, perhaps intentionally, a patient record rooted in the present listening experience, engaging and encompassing for its duration. Overall, it effectively balances experimentation and accessibility.