Band of the Week – Pentimento

by Vasilis, contributing writer

You always hear people say they like a band because they’re very hardworking or they’re nice guys. Often, too much is made of these qualities. While important, in the end the music still makes or breaks the band.

In Pentimento’s case, the music helps back those qualities up. The Buffalo 4-piece has faced many obstacles, but instead of getting discouraged they used it to further fuel their love for music and their fans. On November 13 2012, the band was set to release their self-titled debut, but after cutting ties with Panic Records and moving forward with the release via Paper + Plastick and Black Numbers, Panic threatened severe legal recourse, forcing an indefinite postponement. The band responded by offering fans a free digital download, which they could get by emailing them. The band explained, “Honesty, truth, integrity, sincerity…these are all things that are not as plentiful in the world as they should be. Pentimento, as a band and as individuals, are on a collective journey to find more of these things in the world and within ourselves…we are learning from our mistakes everyday and it is so exhilarating to do so and to realize that this exact process is what life is all about.”

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The move was risky, but for young bands like Pentimento (they formed in 2010), exposure is paramount. They treated the setback as an opportunity, touring extensively with artists like The Swellers, Candy Hearts, Allison Weiss, and Less than Jake and building their fan base along the way. I was lucky enough to see them in Austin at SXSW, where they played an Alternative Press showcase featuring Frank Turner, Andrew WK, What’s Eating Gilbert, and Crown the Empire. The band can always be found chatting with fans following their set, greeting everyone with a handshake, a smile, and a heartfelt “thank you.” The band takes the time to answer every tweet and message with something witty, funny, and friendly, and they respond to all feedback with appreciation and warmth. When I saw them open for Less than Jake and told them I almost missed the show because of a flat tire, they repeatedly thanked me for the support and vocalist/guitarist Jeremiah Pauly signed my CD telling me how happy they were the flat tire didn’t keep me from coming.

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But like I said, the music ultimately makes the band. Pentimento recently released a 4-song EP titled Inside the Sea, a labor of love that follows the band’s trend of brutally honest and relatable lyrics while demonstrating continued musical growth. The album continues along the path of melodic punk akin to fellow upstate New York band Polar Bear Club while incorporating the passion and precision of Where You Want to Be-era Taking Back Sunday. Mike Hansen’s raw backing vocals greatly compliment Jeremiah’s gritty voice. Every note is honest and powerful, with the guitars flowing seamlessly from distorted to clean and the drums adding a pulsing backdrop, especially seen on the stand-out closer “It’s Okay” and the sing-a-long bridge on “Just Friends.” Mike Hansen’s unapologetic and fervent lyrics shine throughout as he searches for answers while recounting stories of loss, growing pains, and self-discovery.

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Pentimento is finishing up a 6-week tour opening for the PropertyofZack-sponsored tour featuring Real Friends, Mixtapes, and Forever Came Calling. Last Wednesday, they played a 7-song set at The Studio at Webster Hall that included tracks fromPentimento and Inside the Sea. Speaking fondly of New York pizza and the positive response they receive in their home state, the band again thanked the audience before diving into “Circles” and “Unless”, two of their most popular songs. As always, their performance was on-point and filled with great enthusiasm and unwavering honesty. There is little rest in the band’s future as they will be playing a Long Island New Year’s Eve show with Transit and Misser before heading out on a January tour opening for Reggie and the Full Effect and Dads.

Pentimento is a band I strongly believe in. They are as sincere and honest a group as you will find in the music industry. They truly understand that playing music isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, and one they cherish every time they are on a stage or speaking to a fan. If you go up to them and say you love their music, they respond humbly with genuine appreciation, something that is all too rare today. If I could, I would give all the money I have to support these guys, because their music and their personality is very important in today’s punk landscape and because they care as much about you as you care about them. Luckily, with a new EP in tow and their troubles in the rearview, the future is looking very bright for Pentimento.

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