Idiot Pilot - Strange We Should Meet Here [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Idiot Pilot

Strange We Should Meet Here [reissue] (2005)


I'm sure Idiot Pilot's Strange We Should Meet Here will or already has either be(en) praised as an ambitious, original hybrid of rock, electronica, and (a skewed definition of) hardcore, or dismissed as blatant Radiohead aping with random screaming and keyboard loops thrown in. My opinion of the two teenagers from Bellingham, WA (could've sworn I just wrote this), lies somewhere in the middle.

It's quite obvious the base majority of Idiot Pilot's sound is derived from the droning, equally melodramatic and melancholic, nightmarish college rock of early Radiohead, but other than the spot-on Thom Yorke impression, it's where the comparison just about comes to a screeching halt. Where Idiot Pilot attempt separating themselves is with the early-video-game-sound palette of synthesizer effects and pathological screaming at points. It's hard to say the likely reaction a listener will elicit upon hearing these screams come into play during the droid-like moaning that otherwise makes up the rest of the remastered, re-released Strange; it'll either be a mind-blowing climactic event or hearty laugh at kitschy composition. Mine is of mild awkwardness and unsureness, because while the music certainly benefits to have these more intense moments scattered throughout, reaching them just by blatantly, randomly screaming seems like a hasty shortcut and thus somewhat out of place.

Early track "A Day In The Life Of A Poolshark" carries an infectious melody in the chorus, but it's ruined by the screaming, and that's one of the few enjoyable moments. Other times, the band seems to do things just to do them; "The Violent Tango," as well as several other tracks, occasionally carries suspiciously familiar guitar tones better appropriate for the pop soundtrack to Gen X-approved John Hughes films. The chorus to the aforementioned jumps around too much to work well, and comes off as a cluttered aural mess. "Nightlife" comes off like blatant Postal Service biting...with screams. As if that's not enough, "Militance Prom" even dishes out a verse in rap form, for about five lines. Try to imagine any mid-90's Radiohead single with a hip-hop interlude, and "unnecessary" might just be the resulting word.

There are three extremes Idiot Pilot is trying to attempt here, and seemingly, they just don't mesh entirely well. Idiot Pilot are talented, no doubt, but to put it in short, they could find their sound if they just basically stopped fucking around, because it makes for disconnected listening and extended moments of complete indifference.

Losing Color
The Violent Tango
To Buy A Gun

Strange We Should Meet Here