Pinegrove: In The 11th Hour

Pinegrove’s newest album travels through the tumultuous narrative of 2020 in regards to coronavirus, climate change and government ineptitude.


Katie Donivan, Staff Writer

Anyone familiar with synchronicities and angel numbers knows that the number 11:11 signifies positive change on the horizon. It’s a time known for wishing, a time for wanting. 

During the pandemic, wishing for something better to come along became commonplace in society. In Pinegrove’s indie rock, alt-country, folksy album “11:11”, the desire for positive change and a yearning for any kind of normalcy perpetuates each track. 

Frontman Evan Stephens Hall said he intended the numerals to have several different meanings. They symbolize rows of trees or manicured fields, all symbols of the earth, its bounty, and what humans are entrusted with protecting.  

Hall infused deep regard for nature and its power to balance itself after being thrown out of balance by humans. In “Orange,” the irreality in which we have existed since the beginning of the pandemic is called out and examined; Hall throws light upon the endless cycle of not learning from our past mistakes with this melancholic acoustic waltz. 

“The song I fell in love with was ‘Orange.’ That one is just a work of art.” said computer science major Noah Bakayou. “ beautifully paced, and it gives you time to soak in all the instrumentals, which is their strongest attribute.”

Hall incorporated a focus on climate change by mentioning different ecological disasters that occurred recently, like the Oregon forest fires. The album also expresses frustration with the government’s inaction during the pandemic, especially in tracks like “Cyclone.” 

Despite the government’s shortcomings, Hall uses tracks like “Alaska” and “Respirate” as a call to action. We must band together as a community and stop clinging to routine; we can’t rely on the government to secure a better future. Hall used one rhetorical question in a press statement to perfectly explain the album’s overarching theme: “What if we have to be our own salvation?”

The album is tinged with melancholy sadness containing upbeat guitar and punchy drum beats to punctuate the album’s poignant message. Chris Walla, former Death Cab For Cutie member and producer, mixed this album with a messy and bittersweet sound. In a way, this album is the sounds of life itself. It is a complete turnaround from the more polished sound of their last album, “Marigold.” 

This album also pays attention to relationships and even calls back to the song “Paterson & Leo,” a song about two friends expressing gratitude for their counterparts. In “So What,” Hall writes, “October 13th now with Leo gone/Paterson moves on.” The pandemic took many through death, but the relationships lost during the quarantine were just as heartbreaking. The track itself expresses how hopeless it seems to develop deep connections in the world’s current state. However, it is a reminder of our one chance to live and love despite society’s (and our own) inequities and shortcomings. 

“11:11” examines the circular patterns of wishing and wanting and how we as humans can join together and facilitate real change. It captures the anguish of lying on your bedroom floor and staring up at the ceiling while life unravels around you, maintaining the effervescent sense of hope that slowly thumps away in all our hearts.