Wednesday, December 1, 2010

EP Review: Northpilot - 'The Bright Brigade'

Posted by Andrew

“Why can’t we all just get along?," Northpilot frontman Travis Shaver asks in "Radio Lawyers," the opening track to the band's debut EP The Bright Brigade. Based on the cohesiveness of the sound, he's clearly not addressing his fellow band members. Theatrical and vaguely carnivalesque, Northpilot create a unique sound more akin to epic neo-prog than any overly flamboyant artists those adjectives may conjure up. With its driving piano lead, elaborate drumming and larger-than-life guitar wails, "Naked Before My Captors" provides a dynamic and climactic energy reminiscent of short-lived locals Wax on Radio. This was certainly the album highlight for me, with its cathartic buildup and experimental transitions. The EP on the whole does maintain a minor chord countenance, but each song manages to find unexpected notes hitting at the right time to shake things up. "Beautiful Raincoat" captures a perfect balance between an ominous dissonant verse with a more groovy and pop-inflected chorus. Closing track "Ochre Written Flint," appropriately aided by the rain hitting the window next to me as I type this, is somber reflection of limbo backed by keys, strings and brass that asks “How long must I wait here? How long before I go?” As the album begins with a question, it is fitting that it closes with another simple yet timeless expression of internal crisis. Northpilot recognize the tests of life, existential, artistic and all in-between. It is obvious in their debut effort how large of a scope they look at life through; as the band continue to grow, the questions will no doubt become even more poignant.

Catch the arena sized sounds of Northpilot as they open for very danceable and even more suggestive Workout Music at the Cubby Bear this Saturday, December 4 (get in for free by printing a sweet flyer off their Facebook page). The EP is available now on iTunes.

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