Banner Pilot - Pass the Poison (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Banner Pilot

Pass the Poison (2006)


Few things get me both excited and fulfilled like seeing a young band develop. I basically accused Banner Pilot of Lawrence Arms plagiarism regarding their 8-song demo -- I did like it, though. However, the band's freshly recorded EP, Pass the Poison, represents a more complete picture of Midwestern punk, drawing as much from TLA as it does Dillinger Four and early Jawbreaker, and what results are a bunch of good and a few great rough-edged pop-punk songs.

The re-recorded "Uptown Sleep Solution" is one of the best offerings here. The chords sound so basic yet so refreshing, and a punchy, effective chorus contained within. Its follower, "Sun Belt Scars" is fast-paced and throaty as anything here, while "River City Blackout" is another of the disc's outright stunning tracks -- feeling like a sequel to "Condition: Oakland," it's seamlessly ushered in by an audio clip of newsreel footage describing the event the song title implies and then painting a portrait of sincere reflection throughout. Their cover of Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love" is spot on as well.

The songwriting really stuns; "Portland Lights" offers picturesque narratives like "find myself walking by Tabor Park one Spring night / ... / these same Portland lights will help me find my way past wet blurred street signs / Some lawn at day I'll lay and pass out clutching cheap red wine." These dudes have the whole melancholic broken heart thing down beautifully, while they convey the same raw emotion through distorted guitars -- particularly in this song -- as Jawbreaker did so flawlessly.

Banner Pilot are surely beginning to understand how to integrate their influences so that they convey a perfect, unique spin on a style, and as the progression starts to take place, I can safely say it's going to be quite the ride.

Uptown Sleep Solution

Sunbelt Scars
Portland Lights
Ever Fallen in Love