Album Review: The Pine Boys’ “Alternative Milk”

ALBANY – Continuing their “good times only” vibe, The Pine Boys, with their release, Alternative Milk, on Aug. 18th, built upon the levity they became known for in the area. Featuring seven tracks, the minimalist grooves, accented by various instruments in the form of a solo section, or intentionally cheesy, humorous lyrics and raps, made this EP quite the fun, tongue-in-cheek listening experience.

A relentless bass groove and a syncopated drum beat lays the foundation for the opener, “Fast Eddie’s Treetop Casino.” At times, the song goes from a sort of calypso feel to that of a circus-sounding affair. The simplicity and subject matter of the lyrics shows these guys like to have fun and bust a jam, all while not taking themselves too seriously (another track that exemplifies this characteristic is “Ode to the Beatboy,” track five). There’s a nice guitar solo featured in the outro, as well as what sounds like a clavinet-esque solo.

Leaning much heavier into an island/calypso feel, “Biz Dev Din Din,” track two, has an interesting shift from major to minor tonalities. The laidback melody and repetitious lyric during the major section is offset by a rap when it turns into a minor feel. Fading out the song with just piano and bass is an interesting arrangement choice that raises one’s attention.

For the next tune, “Wallet,” there’s a huge retro feel present throughout the whole song. The fuzz-affected guitar counterbalances the rest of the instrumentation, which sort of sounds reminiscent of an old video game soundtrack. It has a nice vibe to it, plodding forward in a groovy fashion. Speaking of video games, let’s look at the next song.

Constant thrumming synths provide the bedrock for a seemingly lo-fi-influenced track, “Pizza Emergency.” While the sounds are not necessarily lo-fi, the dragging of the beat is a hallmark of the genre. In the mind of this listener, the song portrays a stoner-type party with people playing video games, only for someone to realize there’s no pizza to be consumed—an experience that I’m sure is relatable to many!

“Maps are Cool, Yeah!,” track six features a well-established groove across drums, percussion, bass, and piano. It serves as a solid foundation for synth riffing and more goofy lyrics; these folks clearly like to have fun. That’s what music is all about!

With a bit more dramatic instrumentation on the closing tune, “Santa’s Sweatshop,” the talkbox guitar is definitely unexpected. In terms of the music, this track is unlike anything else on the record, despite the fact that the lyrics are just as humorous.

For those looking to sink their teeth into complicated subjects and really digest the music, this is not the record for you. However, there’s way more to music than that! Those looking to have fun and listen to some folks who have great facilities over their respective instruments should check Alternative Milk out. Do what The Pine Boys do: don’t take things too seriously all the time! Listen to the record here.

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