Paul Taneja (guitar, keys, vocals) and Ivan Sosa (drums, keys, vocals) formed the songwriting team Pinto and the Bean in 2010. Prior to moving to Chicago in search of a new rock scene, Ivan was the leader of a successful touring band whose songs reached the top of the radio charts. He’s also shared the stage/performed at festivals with bands such as Peter Bjorn & John, Cake, Blue October, and Ra Ra Riot.
Paul’s solo music has been placed on several TV shows such as L.A. Ink, The Real World, Road Rules, and Cribs. In December of 2010, his song City Lights became one of the most sought after songs to ever be featured on Smallville and subsequently broke the iTunes top 100 charts in Norway. Paul and Ivan worked previously in the Chicago band Incredible Shrinking Boy, but when the duo formed Pinto and the Bean, they decided to go in a new direction.
“Transit Eons”, the latest EP by Pinto and the Bean, is the perfect example of why “independent” rock is so much better than mainstream. The EP is full of great melodies and vocal harmonies as well as just darn good songwriting. I’m a latecomer to this band, and now I rue the lost time I could have spent replaying the songs of this excellent EP.
I really wouldn’t know how to classify this genre, suffice to say “Transit Eons” moves between Indie-pop, shoegazer, alternative-rock, lo-fi and back again.
Right off the bat this recording grabs you, from the stripped down acoustic guitar and drums of “Eagle Kid” and “Safari” which are supported by haunting melodies and tons of harmonious vocals, to the electro-beat wonder of “Gunshot”, which has an achingly poignant melody that connects to the listener instantly. This track has the catchiest chorus melody and lyric, I have laid my ears on this year so far, in any genre. While the somber tones of “Better Off Alone” runs a very close second, melody-wise. Together they make the best set of back-to-back melodic tracks anybody could wish for. I’ve lost count of how many times I have pressed repeat here.
And I think that is Pinto and the Bean’s big secret here. “Transit Eons” is filled not only with carefully crafted song structures or masterful instrumentation, but with what really makes any piece of music worth listening to: superb melodies. Pick any song on this album, and the melody will strike a chord immediately. To that, add the duo’s trump card – brilliantly layered harmonies!
Recently I have been inundated with new music and I am lucky to listen to an album, one time, in its entirety. I have probably listened to “Transit Eons” at least 5 times in a row. There is something very ear-pleasing about this EP that cannot be quite attributed to anything technical or musical; which goes beyond the ‘well-written, well-played and well-sung’. I still haven’t worked out what it is…but I absolutely love it!