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Idiot Pilot - Wolves (Cover Artwork)

Idiot Pilot

Idiot Pilot: WolvesWolves (2007)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 2.5


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Idiot Pilot really cheated the idea of a dynamic with their debut, Strange We Should Meet Here. Random screams and keyboard loops resonated below a blatant Radiohead-inspired surface, and it made for awfully disconnected listening. Luckily, the band has cleaned up and streamlined their sound for the.
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Idiot Pilot really cheated the idea of a dynamic with their debut, Strange We Should Meet Here. Random screams and keyboard loops resonated below a blatant Radiohead-inspired surface, and it made for awfully disconnected listening. Luckily, the band has cleaned up and streamlined their sound for the followup, Wolves, but unfortunately they remain largely derivative without offering an entirely new set of tricks to differentiate them from their influences.

Wolves still finds Idiot Pilot often sounding an awful lot like Radiohead, and when they take on a more straightforward rock approach, well, they sound like Muse. Take opener "Last Chance"; there's a cool trip-hop beat spread throughout, but the transition to the big chorus seems a little abrupt. "Elephant" contains an urgent, driving keyboard line that sets the song's mood; however, when it finds Michael Harris's voice offering brief, Yorke-esque high-pitched cooing in precipitous bursts, it feels like something's missing. It just isn't as pounding as it could be and as a result it's a weak shift when it could be a rather invigorating and impressive break. Maybe it's the mix; maybe it's Mark Hoppus' valley-less production. Maybe Idiot Pilot could benefit from some pregnant pauses, but they ultimately prove they're safe sex practitioners.

At the very least, the band have largely eschewed their violent temper. Caustic screams don't truly enter the fold until the fourth track, "In Record Shape." Whether or not you'd like to label this as maturation, mostly swapping it out in favor of more classy experimentation -- i.e. the well-integrated saxophone (?) of "Theme from the Pit" -- is welcomed. However, the one other time the band screams, it actually works pretty well: Moments of "Planted in the Dark" seriously sound like something off Botch's American Nervoso thanks to jagged riffs, fierce yelps and an electronic coating.

The prime standout, however, comes in the form of seven-minute closer "Recurring Dream," which finds the band breathing a bit more and exploring atmospheric ground somewhere between their oft-compared influence -- Radiohead, of course -- and Appleseed Cast. To conclude it, a soft percussive roll tumbles forth while gentle riffs repeat and cascade, building and building while a string section -- usually a tacky major label add-on -- actually complements the track. It's maybe the best song the band's written to date.

In my review of Strange, I mentioned the band's sound would be conveyed worlds better if they simply stopped "fucking around," and while one assumes they never actually read the review, that's precisely what they've done. However, they still haven't quite found the proper execution to really make it work, though there are times on Wolves that promise a day when they truly will.

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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.
greenerton (March 25, 2008)

They took a while for me to get into, but I really like Idiot Pilot. Strange We Should Meet Here is an incredible album.

Wolves is okay. Planted in the Dark is a fucking awesome song, and so is Elephant and Retina. There's a lot of good stuff here, but overall it's not as good as Strange We Should Meet Here. Anyone hating on them in this review should go listen to the title track of that album, cause it's fucking brilliant.

the_ken_chin_imposter (March 23, 2008)

"'That's pretty much how I feel about 90% of so called Indie Music (Architecture in Helsinki, Frog Eyes, Godspeed, etc.) Just stop fucking around and write a hook, because all your pseudo-experimental use of instruments and different sounds just isn't all that interesting to listen to.'"

Honest challenge: Name one SINGLE fucking Architecture in Helsinki song you've listened to. I want to know exactly which track put them next to GY!BE in your tiny mind. Unreal."

Allow my 'tiny mind' to elaborate (asshole). I work as a cook at a 'hipster-frequented' restaurant and 'in case we die' is played a lot. A friend also put the 'kindling' and ''keepsake' EPs on my iPod, because he thought I just had to hear them. Despite listening to these albums many, many times, I continue to find their music completely uninteresting, with the needless use of a plethora of instruments just to sound different, and a 'happy pop' sound that is both derivative (think Belle and Sebastien, except B & S are actually good at what they do) and annoying.

Now, I put Godspeed and AIH in the same sentence because despite the fact that these two bands sound nothing like each other, they are both unintentionally guilty of making music that douchebag hipsters are consistently freaking out over, it seems for no other reason than to be interested in music that is 'progressive' or 'challenging'. While I don't doubt that these so-called 'hipster douchebags' do actually enjoy the music they listen to, and I respect that, I am always ready to let them know what I think of their music, and they are free to criticize my 'orgcore' favourites or the 80's hardcore bands that I love so much.

I also find that people who listen to 'indie' music have a very narrow idea of punk, which is limited to stuff like the Ramones, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Misfits,The Damned, and even stuff like Black Flag, Minor Threat and The Bad Brains. Now, these are some of my favourite bands, but in no way to they reflect the diversity that exists within punk music; in fact I would argue that these bands are very easily accessible, because they have been given 'music cred' because of their influence in the punk scene. Anyways, I could go on for hours on this subject, so Fuck you Archangel, go listen to some witch-metal or something.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 22, 2008)

Well Scruffy that argument is perfectly valid, but you really should listen to Wolf Eyes. This isn't one of those cases.

Archangel (March 21, 2008)

"That's pretty much how I feel about 90% of so called Indie Music (Architecture in Helsinki, Frog Eyes, Godspeed, etc.) Just stop fucking around and write a hook, because all your pseudo-experimental use of instruments and different sounds just isn't all that interesting to listen to."

Honest challenge: Name one SINGLE fucking Architecture in Helsinki song you've listened to. I want to know exactly which track put them next to GY!BE in your tiny mind. Unreal.

mpc (March 21, 2008)

I saw this band open for Team Sleep (yes, I like Team Sleep) a couple years ago. They were really bad.

Scruffy (March 21, 2008)

"Hell I think Wolf Eyes is more punk than a lot of the bands that get reviewed here."

I have never listened to Wolf Eyes, so I'm not gonna say that they're not punk, but i H-A-T-E statements like that. Something is not "punk" JUST because it's progressive, open-minded or challenging. To assume so in order to give a non-punk band the badge of honor of being called "punk" is to insult every forward-thinking band in every other genre of music. Sure, those attributes are part of punk, but a specific sound is, as well.

And, you know, it's possible to be progressive and innovative WHILE having hooks too. And intentionally NOT having hooks does not, in and of itself, make you more interesting than a pop band, despite what every college music fan who misunderstands Sonic Youth might think.

xote (March 21, 2008)

and i meant to say can not can't. Man I suck.

xote (March 21, 2008)

But on that note. This album sounds pretty fucking lame.

inagreendase (March 21, 2008)

Well...this isn't really a "Pitchfork band" per se...

xote (March 21, 2008)

I can't respect the below commenters opinions so i'm not going to call you guys idiots or anything. But sometimes something other than a lame hook is nice. It's change and punk rock is about change. Hell I think Wolf Eyes is more punk than a lot of the bands that get reviewed here.

MattRamone (March 21, 2008)

Go back to Pitchfork with this shit. I agree with the commentor below that dudes like this need to stop fucking around on their gear and maybe actually write a fucking song.

the_ken_chin_imposter (March 21, 2008)

If they'd simply stop fucking around, haha.

That's pretty much how I feel about 90% of so called Indie Music (Architecture in Helsinki, Frog Eyes, Godspeed, etc.) Just stop fucking around and write a hook, because all your pseudo-experimental use of instruments and different sounds just isn't all that interesting to listen to.

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