When we came up with our name,” says PAGIINS frontman Leif Hinshaw, “we wanted it to evoke a certain image in your head. Specifically, Nicholas Cage getting his face torn apart by bees.”
If that ravenous Wicker Man reference sounds both sinister and not the least bit serious, good. Because that pretty much nails how elusive Pagiins is musically and lyrically on their debut LP, Opium Den Pool Party.
So while it’s easy to understand how Hinshaw and the rest of the Arkansas-based group—co-founder/drummer Robert Bishop, bassist Chris Wood, and guitarist Aaron Smith—all take cues from how killer California’s rock scene is these days (see: Thee Oh Sees, Nobunny, Mikal Cronin, etc.), their respective crank-that preferences include everything from Captain Beefheart and CCR to Pavement and Beck.
Meanwhile, Hinshaw’s dense story lines can get lost amid all those interlocking harmonies and manic melodies. An example: “Open Up Your Mind,” an organ-grinding, gate-crashing anthem that just so happens to be about going against the grain that’s been preordained for all of us. Or as Hinshaw puts it, “You’ve been bound by common thought/ Just ignore everything your taught.”
Which might as well be Pagiins’ mission statement, really. Opium Den Pool Party is out on Tape and Digital via Old Flame Records now.