I was first introduced to this band through FIFA 07’s soundtrack, featuring their single “You Are The One”. I was a pretty big fan of the song, so I checked them out on iTunes and wound up getting their aptly titled debut “We Are Pilots” as a Christmas gift back in 2006.
I was impressed with the fact that this band didn’t sound like a lot of other “indie” or even pop-techno-dance-thrash music (not that there’s a whole lot of it out there). They had a very distinct pop sound that thrived on melodies accompanied by pulse pounding machine drum tracks. It was very reminiscent of the old 80’s new wave pop bands, and I’m fairly positive that the frontman, Chad Petree, and his keyboardist and co-vocalist Jeremy Dawson, grew up listening to that style of music. The influence is extremely present. Tracks like “Rainy Monday”, “We Are Pilots”, and “Don’t Cry Out” were stand outs on a very solid album, and of course, I was extremely excited to see how they followed that up.
I was bothered by the fact that they had let go of their original female vocalist, Carah Faye Charnow, and replaced with Sisely Treasure. Not that I had anything against Treasure, I just thought Carah fit the bill perfectly with the band.
Unfortunately, Treasure’s attempt at edgy screaming on some of the more thrash-techno tracks (“Ghost Town”, “Ricochet!”), fails miserably and really takes away from an otherwise beautifully produced and executed album. Strong points include “Money For That”, “I Owe You a Love Song”, “Blown Away”, and “It Became a Lie On You”. When Treasure sings, it’s a wonderful thing. But she cannot pull off Courtney Love style wailing. It just doesn’t work. She comes off as a white suburban girl who wants you to believe she didn’t just spend all day at Hot Topic because it’s a place for posers, and thinks that Pink is hardcore.
Overall, the album is good. It’s not great, but I think it’s unfair to say it’s a sophomore jinx. They do build on some of the positive things on “We Are Pilots”, and come out with some really nice, pretty melodies that are extremely catchy and will be stuck in your head for days. I’ve listened to the record about 4 times, and I will admit even the horrifying “Ricochet!” (for some reason they chose that for their first single–good luck with record sales) has grown on me.
Critically, I will admit some of the lyrical abilities are lacking in this writing duo, and it shows in the very lame “Turned to Real Life” (if there is a remake of “Mannequin”, this will be the theme song no doubt) and “When Did This Storm Begin”. But I think it’s the music that is more meant to be enjoyed rather than the lyrical content. After all, I wasn’t exactly moved by most of the songs on “We Are Pilots”. But I must point out that it is a flaw in the record.
I like this band a lot and I see a lot of promise. I hope they can build on the positives, and either ditch the shrill Babes in Toyland-esque female stuff, or ditch Sisely Treasure and find a chick who can genuinely make you quiver when she screeches about another “fucking bottle of pills”.