Pinegrove’s newest album, “Marigold,” shows both personal reflection and growth for the group while still maintaining the sound that their fans love. Released Jan. 17, “Marigold” became Pinegrove’s fourth studio album.
Marigold was self-produced by the band’s two founders and permanent members: Evan Stephens Hall and Zach Levine. Levine and Hall founded Pinegrove in 2010 in their hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. At first, the group would play small house shows and release music independently on Bandcamp. When the group signed with the independent record label Run for Cover Records and released their second album “Cardinal” in 2016, they entered the national spotlight.
The band did not put out another album until the self-release of “Skylight.” This album ended the band’s year-long hiatus in Sept. 2018. The hiatus, which lasted from 2017-18, was the result of sexual coercion allegations against Evan Hall. It is suspected that this hiatus was taken at the request of the victim. The majority of “Skylight” was recorded before the hiatus was announced, but its release marked the start of a new period of creativity for the band.
Marigold, released through the label Rough Trade, is the first full album recorded after these allegations were made public. The effect that the hiatus has had on Hall as a songwriter can be seen in the tone and lyrics of the album. The songs are all is unmistakably Pinegrove, with the traditional guitar and percussion sound paired with contemplative lyrics that can be found across all of their past albums. However, the lyrics of songs throughout Marigold seem more personal and reflective than those of past albums, which relied more heavily on conversational lyrics and imagery.
The album’s first song, “Dotted Line,” starts the album off with an upbeat tune. The song explores themes of uncertainty and confidence. As Hall sings of driving into New Jersey, he reflects upon where he has been and what is ahead. The song is one of acceptance of one’s current situation and moving forward. This is a feeling that many can relate to, and that is exactly the goal of Hall when writing. In an interview with Apple Music, he said: “I want people to see themselves in this record.”
The album is not entirely upbeat, and at the beginning of the song “No Drugs,” the tempo slows considerably and the lyrics evoke a sympathetic plea: “Is it so wrong I wanna feel good? I wanna feel good.” Halfway through the song, the tone shifts as Hall sings: “Let’s build us a new house for to live.” From here on the tempo and percussion becomes more lively like many of the familiar choruses found in Pinegrove’s songs. The song itself goes through a transformation, not unlike the band itself.
An unexpected closing to the album, “Marigold” is a completely instrumental song. It rises and falls with the plucking of guitar strings and a synth humming in the background. This final track seems to put a tone to the complex feelings expressed over the course of the album. Marigold ends with a final note, fading into silence.
Marigold has received relatively high critical praise. Many fans find the album represents a growing band and the natural shifts that occur as a group continues to produce music. It is not necessarily the same sound that fans and critics enjoyed in “Cardinal” and “Skylight,” but it does seem to build upon the band’s current discography in an original way.
A personal favorite from the album, “Hairpin,” contains the slow and melancholy lyrics: “I can’t wait to go home, to be there when the new world comes.” For Pinegrove, Marigold presents itself as a new world, a new opportunity for the band to really dig deeper as they continue to deliver emotional songs that their fans love.