Banner Pilot - Collapser (Cover Artwork)

Banner Pilot

Banner Pilot: CollapserCollapser (2009)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

The fact that Banner Pilot has risen to such success (signing to Fat Wreck, international recognition among other merits) without heavy touring or high-profile promotion is the ultimate testament of this band's ability to write a song. Their feisty brand of melodic (though not poppy) Midwest punk ca.
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The fact that Banner Pilot has risen to such success (signing to Fat Wreck, international recognition among other merits) without heavy touring or high-profile promotion is the ultimate testament of this band's ability to write a song. Their feisty brand of melodic (though not poppy) Midwest punk caught fire only a few years ago, and their popularity has exponentially grown with each release. Of course, it could also be having one of the best band names ever and/or being composed of members from such quality acts as Off with Their Heads, the Manix and Rivethead.

Still, Banner Pilot is somewhat misread by more than a few (my previous self included) as a Jawbreaker or Lawrence Arms by-product. And while they do claim influences from said bands, Banner Pilot's approach is unlike any of the bands they're often lumped in with. For one, Banner Pilot has rarely based songs around booming choruses ¡ la "Indictment" or "Your Gravest Words," for example. They are, however, more prevalent on Collapser, with tunes like "Skeleton Key" and "Starting at an Ending" packing some huge hooks chorus-wise. Furthermore, Banner Pilot offers a bit more of a personal, open-ended narrative than the Aesopic storytelling of Jawbreaker or the tongue-twisting tales embedded in the Arms' lyrics.

Regardless, Nick Johnson writes damn fine lines, though they'll surely resonate deeper with the Midwest/Minneapolis listeners who experience the same helpless urgency of soon-to-be long winters creeping up from summer happiness, as in "Losing Daylight," where private trepidation is interlaced with imagery from John Fante: "I color inside the lines of days with blue / Since we drove up to Bunker Hill and you said 'I can't take a winter one more year / If I don't leave now I'll die right here.'" "Farewell to Iron Bastards" is even more dismal, as Johnson attests, "Told you once that if life got too grim / I'd coast to Meadow Bay, become a ghost / I'd tie some weights on and think ??bout what I'd loved the most -- you, in Minnesota air, ??lone and standing there." What may be lost on some listeners is this is no pity party -- this is commiseration. That's not to say that all Minnesotans reflect so painfully on their surroundings, but it's probably not something a lifelong native of Daytona Beach is going to fully understand.

The music on Collapser is also the best it's been for Banner Pilot, production and otherwise. Nate Gangelhoff's basslines are energetic and vibrant, and rise above the mix giving the sound a ballsy, more melodic shape. On tracks like the standout "Write It Down," Corey Ayd's guitar lead weaves in and out pitching a more somber overtone on top of the fill-friendly rhythm laid down by Dan Elston-Jones. Above it all is Johnson's gravelly, half-snotty vocals describing the Twin Cities like Craig Finn on a steady dosage of the Broadways.

Collapser is a hell of a release, but only for what it is. Go in expecting 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and you'll be confused, because that isn't Banner Pilot. Go in expecting the gritty, intelligent accounts of the world according to four Minneapolis punks and relayed through catchy tunes with earnest lyrics and you'll be more than satisfied with Collapser.


People who liked this also liked:
Dear Landlord - Dream HomesThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundBanner Pilot - Heart Beats PacificDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Flatliners - CavalcadeAgainst Me! - As The Eternal Cowboy

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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.
hatetheplacelovethechords (July 14, 2012)

One of my five favorite albums, ever. Wow. No weak songs to be found.

Spooky (April 22, 2011)

This is simply a fantastic album. I used to hear a lot about how great this band was from Resignation Day but this one really hit hard during an important event in my life a few years back and I've been a huge fan ever since. Props to this band for their clever lyrics and catchy songs, especially "Lift Me Up", I don't think I've ever heard transitional periods of loss and regret conveyed so well from a pop-punk band.

Dedricthere (March 20, 2011)

Not as good as Resignation Day. "Central Standard" is great though.

Levendus (November 8, 2010)

Ok.. at this precise moment I'm 1:47 seconds into track 1 and I already like this a lot

Barmin (July 15, 2010)

My favorite album of 2009 right here (and probably in the top 5 of my favorite albums ever).

MikeRackaDiction (February 15, 2010)

I may not be some freezing cold kid in America's Midwest, wondering if winter's ever going to end, but this album, and band, rocks.

muuey (January 4, 2010)

a user's manual to being a 24 year old with a dick

HankMurphy (November 19, 2009)

i think skeleton key is my new third favorite song in the history of the universe

Misanthropee (September 19, 2009)

Score is for playing Rivethead songs on tour.

Score is not for either Banner Pilot or Rivethead.

GlassPipeMurder (September 18, 2009)

Best Album this year. Also, Nate Gangelhoff writes the lyrics not Nick.

Agree with the first part, but not the second.

on the back of the Collapser booklet:
All music by Nate Gangelhoff
All lyrics by Nick Johnson

mattramone (September 18, 2009)

Supporting Caste wore out its welcome to me within a month. Ever follow along with the lyric sheet? Everything starts to sound forced and in the same "da da da, da da da, da da da" cadance.

elliot (September 18, 2009)

Pretty good, but anyone saying this is even close to Supporting Caste is seriously out of their mind.

ffwoodycooks (September 18, 2009)

Farewell to Iron Bastards and Empty Lot make such a sweet 1, 2 kick in the pants. albums great.

mikexdude (September 18, 2009)

So. Incredibly. Boring. Oh my god.

andjustice (September 18, 2009)

Nothing interesting. Nothing original. Nothing special. Not good. Not bad. Just...there. How sad.

jackrabbitslimm (September 17, 2009)

great band to see live. I've seen them multiple times around Minneapolis and they never disappoint. Glad to see them get some recognition.

mattramone (September 17, 2009)

Everyone else is crazy. "Northern Skyline" is the fucking hit off this record.

Jelone (September 17, 2009)

Love it. Love it. Could live off it! Yeah!

thornsoflife (September 17, 2009)

in the top 5 for releases of 09.
that's for sure, solid record.

Scarysmurf (September 17, 2009)

Dear Landlord was just as addictive for me but they didnt have the lyrics to make it a main stay for me.
This is my album of the year, there isnt much doubt for me on that.

nocigar (September 17, 2009)

i fucking love this album so much i'm going to throw in another comment. whenever i'm walking home ffrom the L i listen to this...whenever i'm drinking i listen to this..whenever i am doing anything i listen to this. pop punk at it's best..whether you are from the midwest or not. this shit is fucking ACE. best of the year. i don't even have to hear anything else...this is top of my list.

xshoutoutx (September 16, 2009)

"Pass the Poison" is still my favorite, but this is still really good. Definite top ten, just kind of a let down from "Resignation Day"... that is all.

sugarfull (September 16, 2009)

how this is considered great music by a healthy majority of the ".org" is beyond me. I guess I'm not a fan of pop punk, because this stuff sounds terrible to me.

drugmoney (September 16, 2009)

This is giving Supporting Caste a run for best album of the year.

hayman (September 16, 2009)

Awesome, not many bands that grab you this quick anymore and quality songs from start to finish. This is what it's all about! Hope to see them in Australia some time.

kylewagoner (September 16, 2009)

Stephen from Fuse's "Stephen's Untitled Rock Show" or whatever said in a bulletin "Why hasn't anyone told me about Banner Pilot yet? Collapser is the best thing I've heard all year!"

Score is for him and for him not thinking something shitty was the best thing he's heard all year.

metreau (September 16, 2009)

when i first heard it i was worried about the production being too clean.
but then i shut my mouth and listened. all was good.

icapped2pac (September 16, 2009)

I agree about face to face totally. I never listened to Jawbreaker in my life (I know, travesty), but the 2 loved bands they remind me of are f2f and (a more serious, well thought out) Screeching Weasel.

ahopeagainsthope (September 16, 2009)

This shit fucking grew on me, and quickly. It'll probably end up as my album of the year.

Cos (September 16, 2009)

from their myspace:
"Well, imagine if Jawbreaker, Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio got in a knife fight and Jawbreaker won - but just barely. That's what we sound like."

I was listening to the first one the other and not really paying attention when I suddenly got a very heavy F2F vibe. Which isn't bad--BP seem to put more thought into their lyrics than Trevor Keith ever did. I just think everyone misses it because BP's vocals are so gruff.

baldsteve (September 16, 2009)

Yeah, I believe they are Jawbreaker fans, I can see them listing them as influences, but I don't hear any similarities.

Cos (September 16, 2009)

everyone compares them to Jawbreaker, but they sound more like Face To Face than anyone else.

yourwifesboyfriend (September 16, 2009)

oh crap forgot to rate

yourwifesboyfriend (September 16, 2009)

Its kinda like I've heard it but more like a half a new release by a band I like not quite them but damn close. I don't think anyones gonna get what I mean haha.

SouthernLovin (September 16, 2009)

"Greenwood" is about the house some friends of mine in Greenwood, SC ran called the Wreck Center about two years or so back. I joined a band with those same fellows around the time it was closed down.

Anyway, stoked about that. Other than that, record has some gems but it's so-so. But those gems have practically been on repeat for me all week. Especially "Skeleton Key."

R3vengeTherapy (September 16, 2009)

whoops, score.

R3vengeTherapy (September 16, 2009)

I would really almost consider this a 9, but it's somehow still growing on me even though I've been listening to it for a solid month.

The best part about this record? You've heard it before, technically, because there's nothing super surprising about the music. On the first listen you'll find yourself thinking "This is strikingly familiar, yet somehow new." and that's how I looked at it. I was immediately comfortable with the style and the song structure, and that allowed me to instantly fall in love with how incredibly well-written this album is.

It surpassed every expectation I could have ever had. I would actually honestly say I like it more than anything Rivethead ever did. I've been a fan of pop punk for 10 years now, and this record is one of the best I've heard in ages.

Blackjaw_ (September 16, 2009)

icapped2pac, keep listening to The Cosmic Drama at full blast while reading the lyrics, sing the whole thing out loud as you do, and it's an amazing album. Not as good as American Art, but still in my top 5 at least for the year. Weatherbox is god.

mikexdude (September 16, 2009)

The only band can play music and make it sound exactly the same and I'd be okay with it is Latterman.

icapped2pac (September 16, 2009)

In the last month, I've found myself disappointed to different degrees by the new releases from my favorite bands (Polar Bear Club, Weatherbox, and Moneen). Maybe that's part of the reason why I love this album so much, because they came through in spades by sticking to the style I love while punching it up in all the right places. It came out even better than I had hoped. It's the perfect improvement on the great album that was Resignation Day. My favorites are "Skeleton Key", "Central Standard", and "Write It Down". I'll also throw in on complimenting a great review. Thanks for ruling, Banner Pilot.

thesandwiches (September 16, 2009)

Great record, but I still would prefer more Rivethead releases.

hobbzoid (September 16, 2009)

yeah it's a good record. Not a game-changer though. It's been a good year for punk releases though... Nothing tops "Supporting Caste" yet.

fueledbytim (September 16, 2009)

Best Album this year. Also, Nate Gangelhoff writes the lyrics not Nick.

ddb43 (September 16, 2009)

Very solid release. I didn't care for their other releases, but this sounds really good. I hear a lot of D4 & Lawrence Arms. So many good releases this month. I need some more money.

Drunken3rd (September 16, 2009)

This album was okay... Everything sounds the same but nothing stands out. The Midwest Punk label is fitting because my first reaction was that they sound a little like D4, halfway through
the album I wanted to give up on Banner Pilot and put on Midwestern Songs....

TeaEssAre (September 16, 2009)

it all sounds the same...not bad, but boring!

baldsteve (September 16, 2009)

This record isn't start to finish perfection but its got a lot of gems on it.

Skeleton Key is my favorite song released this year

thiskidsalright (September 16, 2009)

all I've been listening to this month

party-animal (September 16, 2009)

That was actually supposed to be A plus but the plus sign didn't come through.

party-animal (September 16, 2009)

I have their EP and other full length and never could get into it but this record is amazing. I hear hints of D4 and for some reason Kid Dynamite. I'm also stoked that this came out on Fat and the production isn't actually too over the top. Still haven't decided if this is better that Dream Homes but its close. As good as this record is, I think a lot of the amazing choruses and such could benefit from more backing vocals.

Also, fucking A review.

RAMBUNCTOID (September 16, 2009)

As mediocre as the loved ones

thepopeofchili-town (September 16, 2009)

Great punk album, one the year's best. Up there with Cobra Skulls, Fake Problems, and The Sidekicks. This record DESTROYS Dream Homes.

mattramone (September 16, 2009)

top 5 of the year

Ilovesuckingdick69 (September 16, 2009)

this sucks

wonton (September 16, 2009)

Good. That is all. Not "Groundbreaking"

preston (September 16, 2009)

Can't stop listening to this. The production is a big step, but I wish they would've toned it down a bit. I also like how they thank few people in the liner notes, but John Fante is one of them. I can definitely see the influence lyrically.

deadpan (September 16, 2009)

The stream has convinced me that this is a solid album. Can't wait to pick up the proper version.

oldpunkerforever (September 16, 2009)

anything more and you are lying to yourself-oldpunker-

SydBarrett420 (September 16, 2009)

Good, but not 4 stars good

DefianceOhioEqualsLove (September 16, 2009)

I've never been able to get into this band before, but the song "Greenwood" is the fuckin shit. Seriously. I'll give this cd a shot tomorrow, and I'm feeling pretty positive about it.

LawnDay (September 16, 2009)

I was really into the ep and the demo when they came out, but I wasn't feeling resignation too much, I couldn't figure out any reason not to just listen to the ep. Should I bother with this?

nocigar (September 16, 2009)

oh yeah, really good review.

nocigar (September 15, 2009)

album of the year for me. this or castevet, but i can't stop listening to this. i'm addicted.

ashtraymonument (September 15, 2009)

this is starting to grow on me in a way resignation day never did.


IanIsSuperRad (September 15, 2009)

I've been all about this album for the past few weeks. One of my favorites of the year for sure.

tidalslumber (September 15, 2009)

I can't believe some people were comparing this to Dillinger Four. D4 know how to write catchy, unique melodies. This, on the other hand, is background music.

Blackjaw_ (September 15, 2009)

Good for what it is, but I don't like what it is.

Chadreligion (September 15, 2009)

Great record. Good song with good lyrics, midwest alienation, good label.
In fact, the only shitty thing about this release was that it was the first FAT started charging more for colored vinyl, which kind of pisses me off.
Other than that, good solid record; make note this band is starting to show great promises of longevity and much fan dedication(i.e. Larry Arms, Bouncing Souls, Off With Their Heads).
Get this record now.

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