downpilotRight from kick off with the track ‘Radio Ghost’, Downpilot instantly remind me of so many other artists. The vocals are like a strange mix of Michael Stipe and Thom Yorke, and the music itself has that sort of R.E.M./Radiohead melancholy sound which I like a great deal. The sense of sadness in the guitar, the slower pacing and the slightly ambiguous nature of the lyrics all fit into that haunting 90s slow grind style. In a word: moody as fuck.

Many of the songs here give off a gentle, laid back feel. It’s quite relaxing, not in your face and trying to make you sweat under the pressure of trying to work out what the fuck is going on. Simple yet thought provoking. Track 2 in particular, ‘Reno’, puts images of deserts and Jack Kerouac musings in my head. Sun-kissed, a mirage of layered sounds if you will, a sparkling guitar tone with a chilled out rhythm section make for quite an emotive listen.

It’s more of the same really with the following track, ‘Long Day of Sun’, then getting a little folky with track 4 ‘Rosaline’, which gives me notions of the legendary outfit Neutral Milk Hotel. And to be honest, on first listen I turned off this album and put on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – not very professional but there you go.

It’s at this point however, I got a little bored. I couldn’t help but feel on record maybe this music isn’t as amazing as it is live. This is obviously a bit of a hollow point coz usually a record does differ greatly from a live setting, and this is a recorded studio album after all. But even though I knew it was great, it wasn’t really grabbing me as much as I’d like it to. Almost being forced to like it, it took me a couple of listens of these tracks to truly appreciate them for what they are.

However, as the album continues it does pick up tremendously and had me back on side. Tracks ‘My Paper Sons’ and ‘The Collector’ in particular, captivate me. The latter being quite experimental, with effects being used on the vocals and the minor electronic element really showing off Downpilot’s ambition to put a twist on this style of music. Boss.

The last track, entitled ‘Suzanne (The Silence), is without a doubt my favourite cut from this album. It has the most passion and most heartfelt words of any of the 9 songs here. It is a fantastic end to a solid album. Consistent in musical style and not padded with emotionless crap, the intentions are laid out early and followed through with grace.

Downpilot’s Radio Ghost is a great fucking album. It may not be ground-breaking or full of many new musical ideas, but it’s certainly got something. I think the album cover sums it up perfectly to be honest, simple yet effective. Not overcomplicated, but something nice to look at it and gladly wander in.

Release Date 25/09/2015 (Tapete)

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC