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splendid > reviews > 10/15/2005
(die) Pilot
(die) Pilot
Radiation. Weather. Art
Self-Released


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Parade"

Buy me now
Radiohead's success has spawned a lot of imitators. They fall into one of two groups: those who believe their path to fame and fortune can be paved simply by imitating Thom Yorke's ethereal vocals, and those who try to cop the band's arty, multifaceted musical style. (Die) Pilot falls into the latter category. Much of Radiation is awash with melodic and moody vocals, lush, atmospheric keyboards and occasional acoustic guitars; (die) Pilot describe their music as "dreamy folk/alternative with an indie-rock edge", which is actually a pretty fair assessment.

Eugene Brown's fragile, Eddie Vedder-esque vocals are the album's dramatic heart; they help to sell its brooding obsession with loneliness. Brown clearly has his share of bad memories, and a lot of his writing on Radiation. Weather. Art. focuses on a consistent love-and-loss theme. "Porcelain" is a perfect radio ballad with a great lyrical image ("When she cries, it dries to porcelain"), and listeners will almost feel Brown's spite and despair in "Adulteress" when he sings, "When push comes to shove / you always seem to knock me further back... this is my last chance to leave it all behind again." "Lottery" follows in the same vein, but you'll notice some growth in Brown's songwriting. He writes, "Last night I woke from a nightmare soaking wet / well, I must have swam myself to sleep again / 'cause these thoughts are harsh...but they're always the same / searching for someone else to blame".

"Infrared" is passable pop, but listeners who focus on lyrics will abandon it almost immediately due to deathless stuff like "A humanless portal / for a technological cuisine / back me up, I'm going in / infrared chaplain." Similarly, "Drunken Angel"'s overwrought sentiment is an immature take on a familiar situation: "She looks like she's sober / I wish I could know her." It's definitely skippable.

(Die) Pilot have the potential for widespread indie success: much of Radiation. Weather. Art. makes affecting and addictive listening. If they continue to grow as a band, and don't hew too closely to whatever Radiohead does next, they might even leave the comparisons behind.



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