Album Review: Pawnbroker
Dance at the End of the World
With great stylistic and instrumental prowess, Pawnbroker members Nathan Smith (guitar), Spencer Ellsworth (bass and vocals), Nicole Pierson (keys and vocals), and Scott Davis (drums), create a wonderful collage of songs. They cross multiple moods and genres on their album, Dance at the End of the World.
“Better World” offers fantastic bass and guitar lines that pulse and weave through the vocals creating a groove that will get any head bobbing. The alternation between a relatively clean tone and heavy distortion on the guitar in “Lazarus” creates a contrast that will surprise and appeal to many listeners, especially those new to Pawnbroker who may be unaware of how sonically diverse they can be. Pierson’s vocals on this track are definitely stand-out too as she belts out the notes in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion.
On “Patching,” the guitar line is pleasantly reflective of something you might find on a Black Keys record (but definitely not so much that you could call it a Black Keys rip off). It is a great song that shows how strong Nathan Smith is as a guitarist; how he can compose a line that acts both rhythmically and melodically. But let’s not forget Spencer Ellsworth and Scott Davis. Their work on “Inferno in 6-8” is an example of what every rhythm section should be.
Pawnbroker has always been a band that defies categorization in the best ways possible, and Dance at the End of the World is no different.