Despite its reputation for having churned out some of the best indie rock and alt dance music from the late ‘80s through most of the ‘90s, Athens, GA hardly seems like the obvious hometown of one of the next great Cosmic Country bands. But preconceived notions aside, Athens-based sextet The Pink Stones have managed to turn in a pretty impressive debut that hues closer to bands like The Flying Burrito Brothers and Doug Sahm than to groups like R.E.M., Love Tractor and The B-52s.
The album opener, “Blueberry Dream,” has strong Gram Parsons vibes and a chorus that stays with you; and despite the slower tempo of the next couple tracks, the band is not shy about slipping in plenty of self-deprecating humor when it’s least expected. One of the rarer moments on the album – when the band plays the more upbeat country song “Barroom Blues” – also manages to be one of the best tracks here. The same can be said for the bluesy “Love Me Hardly,” with its driving bass line and some of the sharpest lyrics on the record. The Pink Stones manage to mix heartache with a lovesick optimism throughout for a seemingly personal record that shies away from more character-driven songs (the exception here being “Miss Wind Turbine”) in favor of more universal themes relatable to anyone.
The album closes with the melancholy “Dream So Sweetly,” a song almost hypnotic in both the music and Hunter Pinkston’s delivery. It’s a solid song but not nearly as compelling as a lot of the other tracks on the record. While not exactly flawless, there are more than enough enjoyable moments on Introducing… The Pink Stones to warrant expectations that they could grow into one of the genre’s next great flag bearers, carrying Cosmic Country into the next decade.
Photo by Taylor Chmura