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Banner Pilot - Heart Beats Pacific (Cover Artwork)

Banner Pilot

Banner Pilot: Heart Beats PacificHeart Beats Pacific (2011)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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With the breakout success of their 2009 effort, Collapser, Minnesotan act Banner Pilot has a lot riding on LP #3. Like their labelmates the Flatliners, the band seems poised for bigger things. These expectations make the group's follow-up, Heart Beats Pacific, something of a disappointment at first,.
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With the breakout success of their 2009 effort, Collapser, Minnesotan act Banner Pilot has a lot riding on LP #3. Like their labelmates the Flatliners, the band seems poised for bigger things. These expectations make the group's follow-up, Heart Beats Pacific, something of a disappointment at first, to the extent that it's a predictable follow-up. For all the Jawbreaker comparisons that follow frontman Nick Johnson's lyrics, the band has yet to approach that band's level of stylistic experimentation. At the same time, though, it's hard to get mad at the band for refining what made Collapser so good. I mean, have you heard that record? It made me choose life.

By the band's own admission, Pacific is a safe move. It takes everything Collapser did well--the introspective lyrics and the infectious, snotty hooks--and goes bigger. Johnson sounds more assured here. The guitars are denser, heavier and generally more interesting. The production is straight up better, clean enough that all of the instruments come through without glossing everything over in studio cheese. One way the band earns their Jawbreaker comparisons is by letting Nate Gangelhoff's bass anchor so many of the tunes (Also, the intro to "Isolani" sounds like something off of Dear You. Who's with me?).

Heart Beats Pacific is a really good Midwestern punk record. It's up there with Dillinger Four's greatest hits. Sure, it sounds like a bevy of other Midwest bands like Dear Landlord and Off With Their Heads (who, coincidentally, have borrowed Gangelhoff on occasion), but it's better. It's in the way the songs bounce effortlessly, constantly propelled by desire and winter despair. It also helps that the guys are good songwriters.

Take "Eraser" for example. It's a song about drankin' and missing someone something fierce. A fairly common topic for the punk set, but Johnson injects so much empathy into the track that it defies what's come before. The whole song is lush with imagery, but lines like "Nothing changes but the time" and "I'm finding out I don't do very well alone / But I know that you're not coming home" hit hard. I don't care if you're straight edge, this one goes for the heart. In the great pop-punk tradition, it's also catchy as hell despite being pretty darn depressing.

The last few years have been good for Banner Pilot. Collapser rocked faces, the 2010 remaster job on Resignation Day proved it was actually a great record all along and now fans have Heart Beats Pacific to memorize. Yeah, all three repeat the same style. But it's a good one.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Dead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteBanner Pilot - CollapserThe Flatliners - CavalcadeRed City Radio - The Dangers of Standing StillIron Chic - Not Like ThisThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Dear Landlord - Dream HomesNothington - Borrowed TimeThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Menzingers - On the Impossible Past

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
NightsWasted (November 27, 2013)

Gets better with every listen. Cant wait for some new stuff.

Thumbs (May 21, 2012)

Thumbs split.

jake83 (May 15, 2012)

Awesome record. Looking forward to seeing them this year too.

Spanish Reds. Wow.

AmateurChemist (March 12, 2012)

Quality pop punk. This album definitely grew on me and it manages to pull on my heart strings fairly consistently these days

Marchelo (March 2, 2012)

This is definetely a let down after Collapser, but it's still a good album. Not much more, anyways.

burk (December 13, 2011)

they've written the same song over and over since they started playing, and they're the only band i forgive for doing so. Cause its always such an amazing song they put out.

EchosMyron (December 7, 2011)

Just awful.

nofx0516 (November 16, 2011)

So far it's my favorite of 2011. Solid album for sure.

pinkpenguin (November 15, 2011)

I talked to Nate at the show the other night and he said "Eraser" almost got dropped. That sounds nuts to me; it's one of my favorites off the record.

read that while i was listening to Eraser and i agree it would be completely nuts to drop it...
on another note, Collapser was basically my soundtrack to last years winter and apparently this is going to be the soundtrack to this years. definitely one of the best this year so far, even if it is "the same trick".

arejaypunx (November 15, 2011)

4.5/5

arejaypunx (November 15, 2011)

OK wow. When I streamed this without lyrics I was a little underwhelmed. Since hearing it with lyrics, it's quickly become one of my favourites for the year. better than Collapser IMO. I love Banner Pilot.

ughlee (November 4, 2011)

A couple good songs, a couple above average songs, and a whole lot of songs that sound exactly the same. Yup, it's a Banner Pilot album, all right. Nothing amazing, but not bad. I implore them to find a new bass tone for their next album.

kodydan (November 4, 2011)

boner pilot did it again. i haven't enjoyed anything else this year nearly as much as i do heart beats pacific.

EXCEPT GODDAMN NOTHINGTON!

floorcadet (November 4, 2011)

Dudes,
Eraser has chords in it's intro very similar to Ache by Jawbreaker. Which honestly may be the reason that it was considered to be dropped from the record. I'm glad it wasn't.

Dycelot (November 3, 2011)

Does alot of great things in the first half of the record, not only upgrades the instrumentation on "Collapser" by a touch but they also seem to have sharped their key signature into a major chord structure on many songs, while the former record was flat chord structure. So while the lyrics feel kinda depressing (I get the "Jawbreaker" comparison too) the end result sounds a little more hopeful than in the past. I'd give the album higher marks for that but a few songs in the latter half of the record drag a bit are close to being considered filler, a finding i'd say was more rare in Banner Pilots previous records. Still a solid record though, some seriously catchy moments

Sinman (November 2, 2011)

This is a solid effort put forth by a solid band. Stays true to the traditional sound that is "Banner Pilot" while still taking the time to explore other musical endeavours... You couldn't ask for more...

varun (November 2, 2011)

Brilliant album. currently listening to only Division Street. but rest of the songs are also pretty good for now and i think i'll get more into them a bit later.

EDK820 (November 1, 2011)

I'm digging this album but some songs remind me of Blink 182.

GlassPipeMurder (November 1, 2011)

"Isolani" sounds a little like "West Bay Invitational"

Jay3313 (November 1, 2011)

The vocal production ruined this album for me. Weak.

Bonerpirate (October 28, 2011)

Magnetbox:

No there isn't.

r3vengetherapy (October 28, 2011)

Man, if you're going to troll, at least be funny. It's the very least you could do.

BonerBurger (October 28, 2011)

What's with all the Jawbreaker comparisons? If anything, they sound like Screeching Weasel with a lyricist who takes himself more seriously than Ben and a guitarist who likes playing less chords. Regardless, they are probably better than both of those bands. Also, wouldn't be ironic if they hired a real banner pilot to fly around some beach somewhere with a banner advertising this album? Over the atlantic ocean? And everyone on the beach traveled east to buy it? And when they got there, all they had was Bivouac and Wiggle?

woodprop (October 27, 2011)

Opener and closer are great... the rest kinda blurs together.

MagnetBox (October 27, 2011)

Maybe someday these guys will release something great, I really think they have the potential to, but this is just another boring Banner Pilot album. Not terrible, but there's so many better bands playing this style of punk.

thingfromuranus (October 27, 2011)

score is for alchemy , song of the fucking year.

feloniousjive (October 26, 2011)

Listened to the 'org stream, it sounded good. I like Collapser, and I really enjoyed watching BP live (on their tour with DTM), but never thought it was anything special. Maybe this is the album that will do it for me.

oldpunkerforever (October 26, 2011)

yet another band that gets quite alot of hype on here ( elsewhere), and also another band I never really disliked, but never really "got" either. This cd is also done very well however and sounds to me like just a good slab of punk done right-oldpunker-

tsiege (October 26, 2011)

While I like Banner Pilot I feel like all their songs and interchangeable.

thus_spoke_sean (October 26, 2011)

jeeeeez†not every band out there is striving for stylistic experimentation or "new" chord progressions. This is pop punk. Sometimes it is just as good to just do something well.... these guys do that.

r3vengetherapy (October 26, 2011)

Love it, gets better with every listen. I'm not sure it'll surpass Collapser as my favorite though.

nocigar (October 26, 2011)

wow my grammar is shat.

nocigar (October 26, 2011)

problewithfire:

seems like you go out of your way to post on every thread and or review of this band always stating the same godamn comments. we get it dude, you dislike this band, is it really necessary to remind us by stating the same shit whenever this band comes up? more people obviously enjoy their music other than a handful of fanboys, but i for one, am one of those fanboys. stick to the music you enjoy and save some time out of your life.

consumedbymusic (October 26, 2011)

I did not like it.

damnitsderek (October 25, 2011)

Was super excited and subsequently let down. It's not bad, but I was hoping for more than an extension of Collapser.

drugmoney (October 25, 2011)

not as good as collapser, but collapser was just amazing. still a very good album and i believe it will just get better and better with each listen.

victim (October 25, 2011)

apparently I'm alone in this opinion, but I liked the production quality on the original Resignation Day.

You're not alone. I thought RD was great to begin with. Don't even know if I've listened to the remastered version. I do really like the two extra songs from the split they added though.

hashbrowns (October 25, 2011)

Goddamn I love Spanish Reds. Alchemy is good too.

theproblemwithfire (October 25, 2011)

up their with dillinger four's greatest hits? yeah, right. hyperbole much?

banner pilot sounds like third-rate wannabe D4 filler that gave ever trying to construct a memorable song or an interesting hook and just opted to stay perfectly satisfied with playing paint-by-numbers orgcore for the adoration of a handful of faithful fanboys. who else actually enjoys this? so...bland.

telegraphrocks (October 25, 2011)

The first album from Banner Pilot I actually like.

sickteen (October 25, 2011)

Disappointed with this record. Thumbs down.

Egg_face (October 25, 2011)

Love it...one for the top of 2011...

Chadreligion (October 25, 2011)

Good Album... One of FAT's best releases this year, for sure, and definitely one of the top contenders for my personal record of the year.
There's nothing remarkable that is done on this record, and the production is decent(its not supposed to be phenomenal... its fuckin punk rock... shit guys!), but overall, well written, and honest lyrics with memorable phrasing made this one stand out to me, not to mention, I heard this before I actually LISTENED to Collapser(which is by no means, great).
Division Street is a awesome closer for the record too!

anarchypants (October 25, 2011)

What's all this garbage about their records sounding the same? All three of their records very different production and singing styles but not so different you could mistake them for another band.

misterspike (October 25, 2011)

"This band is such a one trick pony ..."

Yeah, but it's a pretty good trick.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (October 25, 2011)

yah, stop comparing them to d4.......they only rip off 1 dillinger four song, and they rip it off over and over and over...........................................

bigwig1022 (October 25, 2011)

ugh stop comparing this band to dillinger four. apples and oranges.

Chaos_is_Goose (October 25, 2011)

I would say 3.5 stars. It's not as good as Collapser.

pringlet (October 25, 2011)

Really excellent album. Good from the start to the finish.

baseball (October 25, 2011)

It's not bad music but never really understood what was so interesting about any of this band's records, including this one.

pennyhardaway (October 25, 2011)

To say, one day before its actual release, that it's "up there with Dillinger Fourís greatest hits"... I mean, come on.

mowlio (October 25, 2011)

Great album although there are a few dud tracks, my least favourite release of theirs. Although this doesn't mean I don't still love it and play it daily.

likeaparasite (October 25, 2011)

I agree that some of the vocals are overproduced, but not in "Alchemy". That song is perfection, ESPECIALLY at the end, where it climaxes with some beautifully poignant words that are shouted in vocals more passionate than any I've ever heard from this band. I can't stop singing that part over and over again.

The most unfortunate thing about "Alchemy" is that it's so amazing, everything coming after it has to feel like a bit of a step down. I still love most of the album as much I loved most of "Collapser", though.

It's just really disappointing to hear an obvious use of autotune sometimes. It seems to happen a lot with the second vocalist, and it's a shame. Autotune seriously taints "Division Street", a lovely song with touching lyrics undercut by that shitty excessive production.

wyld_stallyns_rule (October 25, 2011)

Once I finally get my download code to work, I'll be able to have an opinion on this.

strangerthanparadise (October 25, 2011)

apparently I'm alone in this opinion, but I liked the production quality on the original Resignation Day.

evildeadalive (October 25, 2011)

glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks Resignation Day is their best (and I felt that way before the re-mastering) I love Collapser, but RD is just soooo good.

Bonerpirate (October 25, 2011)

Yeah I agree, I think the vocals sound borderline over produced at times. The ending of alchemy almost makes me cringe and nothing on the album kicks my ass as hard as Barker or Cut Bait but they're only minor gripes.

Bonerpirate (October 25, 2011)

Album of the year. Nothing will ever beat Resignation Day for me but I love this too, especially Isolani and Calling Station.

lukabratzi (October 25, 2011)

I don't think this is as good as Resignation Day was but I like it a lot more than Collapser. It is the first album though where I've actually felt like it was over produced. The vocals just aren't as raw as they used to be, though that works really well for a lot of the songs.

nocigar (October 25, 2011)

so fucking good

sickboy22 (October 25, 2011)

I was very nervous to listen to this album at first. I was really hoping it wouldn't just be Collapser part 2. It's great to see that this band is really progressing in the best way for them. I love this album. Easily going to make the "Best Of" list at the end of the year.

Michael_Berryman (October 25, 2011)

killer stuff.

mattramone (October 25, 2011)

This band is incapable of making music I don't love.

I talked to Nate at the show the other night and he said "Eraser" almost got dropped. That sounds nuts to me; it's one of my favorites off the record.

exitenglish1208 (October 25, 2011)

great record

danperrone (October 24, 2011)

this band is such a one trick pony...it's like they're not even trying to write new chord progressions.

Joeydevil (October 24, 2011)

I like this album alot.

HeyLittleFingers (October 24, 2011)

Nate said that, if you asked him, one song on this record sounded like Jawbreaker. It is definitely "Isolani." Totally with you on that riff.
Also, this album rocks. It will take some time for me to figure out how it rates next to Collapser, quite possibly my favorite record ever.

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