Idiot Pilot


Written by: DY on 20/11/2007 02:57:35

"There has to be good in here", the opening line of Idiot Pilot's sophomore album and a thought that would be bang on the mark if you're holding "Wolves" in your hands and wondering what the 10 tracks which lie within contain. In fact 'good' really doesn't do it justice, when you consider the musicianship that has gone into the creation of this genre-spanning record. Be astounded then, when you realise this is the work of just two young guys from Washington, two guys it appears, that can give the likes of Radiohead and Muse a run for their money.

The beauty of "Wolves" is that it in many areas possesses the characteristics of an ambient background album but then at other times it will jump out at you with in-your-face aggression ("In Record Shape") or some inspiring segments that force themselves into your consciousness. Take for example, the first track "Last Chance" which drifts seamlessly in and out of soft electronica between choruses laden with guitars and emphatic vocals. The album treats the listener to a fusion of delicious melodies that make you feel like you are floating in the air ("Theme From The Pit"), perfectly timed programmed drums and bass lines that stand out instead of hiding away, all garnished with some well utilised synthesized effects.

I'll admit that on first listen of the opening tracks, had I been told that Idiot Pilot was a side project of Muse guitarist Matt Bellamy I probably would have believed it, such is the similarity in vocal style between the two, and musically it's well within range of what I'd expect him to play around with. Something has to be said for vocalist/co-guitarist/bassist Michael Harris' truly impressive vocal abilities however, which not only allow him to hit the high notes many singers only dream of, but as "In Record Shape" shows you out of the blue, change the whole mood of a song with some aggressive screaming.

"Good Luck" will surely surprise you the most of all of the songs, beginning with guitars that belong in a Norma Jean song and then gradually mellowing down into a blend of soft rock and nintendo-esque sound effects before returning back to the hardcore thrashing of guitars again. The fact that it really should not work makes it even more brilliant when it does and you realise that these two guys have somehow managed to create an album that blends together everything they love about music irrespective of genre. Immediately following probably the 'heaviest' song on the album is the album's slowest song, "Cruel World Enterprise", which juxtaposes deception and romance in a blissful three and a half minutes mixing soothingly soft beats and spacey sounds with Harris' repeated chorus "concentrate on making love". Not surprising then, that it's set to be the record's first single.

"Red Museum" is a jaw droppingly great song, incorporating pretty much everything brilliant about this band. It has the melodies, the soundscapes created by delayed guitars and synthesized effects, the soft elements contrasted brutally by the harsh screaming, and some more of Harris demonstrating his amazing vocal range. It all peaks beautifully into an epic ending which will leave you feeling like you have just listened to all your favourite bands from different genres, all in one song.

Given his new musical direction, it comes as no surprise that +44's own Mark Hoppus has lent a helping hand in the production of the album, alongside seasoned producer Ross Robinson. In addition, Hoppus' bandmate Travis Barker drums (where they are required amidst the programmed drums) on half of the album's tracks with Chris Pennie (Coheed & Cambria, ex Dillinger Escape Plan) taking care of the other half.

What Harris and Anderson have managed to create in "Wolves" is simply awesome. When it comes to originality, it's as refreshing as a cold beer on a scorching day and stands out amongst the many bands which restrict themselves within the many scenes and genres present today. The sheer amount of diversity, musical talent and creativity held within this record means that all you need to love it is a basic appreciation for quality music. The only drawback I can take from "Wolves" is that it is going to be one heck of a task to replicate the quality of this record in a live setting, but it's certainly a challenge I'll be witnessing if they come anywhere near me.


Download: Red Museum, Theme From The Pit, Good Luck
For The Fans Of: Radiohead, Postal Service, Muse
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.09.2007

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