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Pilotcan

Bats Fly Out From Under The Bridge (Evol)

By • Mar 10th, 2019 • Category: long players

Album opener ‘Page, Take Me To The Lair’ is the sort of track that a lot of other bands would choose to end their first album in 14 years with. Instrumental prog played with piano, cello and a detectable amount of gravitas, it perhaps signals a proper return to the fray for an Edinburgh band that has only relatively recently sprung back to life (I nearly wrote ‘reanimated’). It’s a definable statement of intent from Keiron Mellot, Joe Herbert and whoever else is in Pilotcan nowadays. Even their Fbook page is a bit short on detail, aside from that the songs on ‘Bats Fly …’ were written in Austin TX and recorded at Chem 19. I think we can see where this is going.

Second track ‘From A Days Inn, Virginia’ ups the pace considerably and that is a slide guitar adding bringing some additional atmospherics to a song – I was expecting an entirely instrumental album after that first track – that has a notable hint of REM attached to it, particularly in the vocal phrasing, which is undeniably redolent of that of Michael Stipe. This is only really noticeable on ‘From A …’ though. As the album proceeds, Pilotcan reveal themselves as possessing more than a few other influences and aspects to their music.

The mordant balladry of ‘Slack And Candy’ is followed by the frenetic rawk powerdrive of ‘3rd And Bannister’, and it’s this track that shows Pilotcan at their most assured, very tightly played while avoiding slipping into overbearing raucousness. It’s maybe the album highlight for those reasons, although Pilotcan are very far from done with us yet. The slide guitar makes a return for the Lambchop-esque ‘Joey’s On Pills’ with its mumbled random spoken accompaniment. ‘Glasshouse Girls’ is treading water in comparison, played coldly where some of ‘3rd And Bannister’s energy would have proved useful. Pilotcan want to experiment a bit though, and ‘Grackles (Bring Back Sriracha)’ has a wayward charm of its own, including as it does the album title in its lyric.

Lastly, ‘Everlasting Happyness’ is an acoustic reverie of sorts, five and a half minutes of guitar and mandolin-infused picking that doesn’t, as I expected, turn into a post-rock growler at the 4:25 mark. It just wafts away into the ether and that’s Pilotcan’s first album since 2005 over with. There is a another album due for release later this year and I’d expect it to be every bit as wilfully unpredictable and impressively performed as its predecessor.

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