Banner Pilot - Demo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Banner Pilot

Demo (2005)


Hey you! Do you like the Lawrence Arms? Jawbreaker? The Larry Arms? Chicago pop-punk? The Lawrence Arms' early stuff? The Lawrence Arms? TLA's Ghost Stories? The Lawrence Arms? The Lawrence Arms?

Maybe you get the point.

Banner Pilot reside from Minneapolis, Minnesota, but one listen of their 8-song demo would lead you to believe the band are regulars at the L&L, or perhaps take residence in the North Side or any number of crappy apartments in the Windy City. Their demo, aptly titled Demo, is littered with just about every trait that may've led you to fall in love with the Arms in the first place: Three-piece fronted by utterly gravelly vocalist? Check. Craggy pop-punk sound via a heavy Jawbreaker influence? Check. Rough, but still plenty audible/listenable recording quality? Check most definitely (though some of the tracks sound like downright bubbly MP3s downloaded at 92 kbps [hey "Columbia Lows!"]). Echoy movie clip just right in the mix? Even so (the more fast-paced "At West End"). The only thing missing is a smooth, boyish compliment to Mr. Kelly's spitting image (note, if you dudes are reading this: THIS LAST ONE ISN'T ACTUALLY PROBLEMATIC, OKAY?). At certain points you can kind of tell it's a drum machine making up said playing on the disc, but it doesn't detract too much.

From the opener "End of Night" (which musically reminds me of Saves the Day's "Cheer" for some odd reason) to the stressed, appropriately worded "say goodniiiight" in closer "River City Blackout" it's almost like a shotgun salute to everyone's favorite drunken trio. "Raincheck" is another of the demo's best tracks, as it has a cool hook and clever rhymes for its chorus ("so unforgettable (sorry) / I was unavailable, wish I could've been there with you").

While there isn't a whole lot of defense on the disc proving the band is otherwise no such clone, what they do, they do it well, and as far as I can tell, are one of -- if not the -- first bands drawing so heavily from TLA, a fairly literate and well-respected band on their own merits. With the growth, better production and a good label behind them, Banner Pilot could definitely unleash a truly impressive (and more original) album of its style. For now, I'll enjoy this, the year's bastard little cousin to Cocktails & Dreams.

Demo (download full album)