Sound — 8
Idiot Pilot is a duo of eighteen years old childhood friens Daniel Anderson and Michael Harris from the suburb of Seattle. But you shouldn't be afraid of their age -- especially if their first group was founded when the guys were only twelve. Apparently, Daniel an Michael gained enough experience to write, perform and produce their debut album -- so now we have their full-lenght "Strange We Should Meet Here." Their music is jarring, obscure and aggressive as much as tuneful, serene, peaceful and industrial at times; it's something between Radiohead's fuzziness, post-hardcore/emo metal influences with foundation of electronic hums, shrills and down-tempo beats featuring agreeable lead/screaming back vocals and acute, strident guitars. "It is electronic and hardcore-emotronic," Daniel Anderson comments on this. Although this isn't a pure innovative idea to synthesize rock and electronic sounds, Idiot Pilot can do this in quite interesting and original way. And "Strange We Should Meet Here" proves that. There is such a huge range of sounds, effects and instrument patterns which you can find on "Strange," that it makes each song sound different from another. You can meet calm, melodic and wistful tracks (e.g. opening "Losing Colour" with its aerial arragement and scarcely audible vocals, or "Open Register" that features a laid-back structure and clean guitar sounding, or the eighth track "Moerae (The Locust)" as well as the last one on the album "Lucid") along with the more emotionally charged songs (e.g. "A Day In The Life Of A Poolshark," "The Violent Tango," "To Buy A Gun") that are performed mostly in a hardcore/emocore key with screaming and sometimes heavy distorted back vocal of Anderson. You can even meet techno/dance rhythms on such tracks as "Les Lumieres" and "Nightlife." The only song that's fall out from these categories is "Militance Prom." It's a shortest track on "Strange We Should Meet Here" with slow-tempo beats, jerky backward samples, and interesting and droll combination of fluent, light Harris' singing (and 8 second rapping) with Anderson's frantic expressive screaming. In a word, it's full of good and quality content.
Lyrics — 6
While I can say something certain on Idiot Pilot's music, I can't do this with the lyrics... On one hand, it seems to be nonsensical wording, without any definite theme or narration. On another, I can decide that the lyrical content is open for interpretation -- everyone can get a different, personal feeling from each song, and Michael confirms that: "There is a theme tying these songs together, but I'd rather not say what it is. I believe in letting whoever's listening interpret it for themselves. It's that ability to create meaning on a personal level that has is been appealing to me in music." Go figure... Well, if you don't know what to sing about I guess it was the best way to look "cool" -- be honest man, say to you audience that the lyrics isn't your strong side. Anyway, nonsensical lyrics became one of the major issues in modern music. I've heard a few records recently with the same "concept" and I don't think it's a good way to choose for a debut album. Another side of this subject -- vocals -- is save the day. They feature both clean and soaring at times voice of lead singer Michael Harris and screaming vocal parts of Daniel Anderson -- the man behind Pilot's music. So, 2 points for the lyrics and 4 points for the vocals lead us to the average mark.
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, this debut Idiot Pilot's album doesn't bring a lot of fresh air neither into rock music nor into electronic culture, but with "Strange We Should Meet Here" Daniel and Michael weave habitual sounds into new unwonted patterns to prove the potential of this direction, and make sure it's not wholly exhaust. By itself, this record proves to be full of emotions, energy and power. Being a mixture of synthetic sounds, live guitars and two absolutely different vocals it might satisfy both worshippers of electronic music with its prudence and planned character, and rock people with their hardcoreness and aggressiveness. In a word, for those of you whose music preferences are confined within a couple of subgenres it's a great chance to broaden your musical outlook as well as your CD collection. The guys may take a cookie and our respect for making this record with only 2 members in band -- again, I've heard a few records with 10 people involved and it sounded much worse than this one.