Release Date: 27 September 2013
2013 was a banner year for female-driven British indie acts: Savages dominated the first half of the year with their fierce yet cerebral debut, and a few months later PINS delivered Girls Like Us. Not that the two bands had much in common besides their timing and gender: PINS take a slower-burning, less arty approach with roots in garage rock and the rawer side of indie, and Girls Like Us expands on the all-or-nothing intensity of their debut EP LuvU4Lyf. While there's nothing here quite as commanding as the title track of that release, these songs show that PINS have learned the virtues of pacing their outbursts with well-timed build-ups and breakdowns that heighten the drama of their music. PINS sound more like a gang than ever on Girls Like Us, whether on the wonderfully menacing title track, where Faith Holgate snarls "It's all good for girls like us" in a throaty alto that evokes PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, and the Duke Spirit's Liela Moss, or on "Get with Me," where her bandmates circle her singing with backing vocals that sweeten her pleas and demands only slightly. Hunger and danger course through the album's most riveting moments: Holgate wails "My heart is a cage where I can't behave" on "I Want It All," and "Howlin'" and "Lost Lost Lost" set this frank sexuality to grinding guitars. PINS work this approach for most of Girls Like Us, but just when things threaten to get monotonous, they broaden their horizons: "Waiting for the End" adds some jangle to their sound, and while "Velvet Morning"'s spoken vocals and backward guitars are textbook experimentalism, it still has a hypnotic beauty. Unapologetically sullen and raw, Girls Like Us is a strong debut from a band with a lot to offer.
- Heather Phares, AllMusic