Evan Stephens Hall is big on multiple meanings. The leader of Pinegrove titled their sixth album 11:11 because of its layered significance: the numerals gesturing to a row of trees, or striped corduroy; the cornfields of upstate New York, or people shoulder-to-shoulder. But it’s also a special time, a “wink from the universe,” as Hall says, for those who witness it on the clock to wish for something brighter. “Calling the record 11:11 should be a heartening statement, though there's certainly a range of emotion across the album. There's much to be angry about right now, and a lot of grief to metabolize. But hopefully, the loudest notes are of unity, collectivity, and community. I want to open a space for people to feel all these things.”
The album sees the band build on their poetic blend of indie rock, folk, and alt-country, along with Hall’s earnest, open-hearted vocals and his penchant for writing emotionally direct, literate, introspective lyrics. Here, political and socially conscious themes permeate, and as he evolves as an artist, his resolve has only grown stronger – and more purposeful. “I’m encouraged that so many people in my generation are now on board for a change that centers people over profit”.
Noted producer and former Death Cab for Cutie member Chris Walla took on mixing duties, while Hall and Pinegrove multi-instrumentalist Sam Skinner co-produced the LP. Hall credits Walla’s impeccably placed arrangement ideas as a vital voice at the table, moving on from the “crisp and contained” production on 2020’s Marigold, to more of a “messier” feel for these new songs. Pointing towards hope, love, grief, and anger, 11:11 seizes listeners with feelings of warmth, urgency, and soulful beauty – even as it asks some of life’s most difficult questions – through hook-filled songs that bury themselves in the senses and stay there. “The album spends equal time on optimism, community, reaffirming our human duty to look out for one another even in the absence of the people we expect to do those things,” says Hall. “What if we have to be our own salvation?”
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