# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Amazing Pilots - Hello My Captor

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 19 / 11 / 2005

Amazing Pilots - Hello My Captor
Label: Decor Records
Format: CD


Stunning eclectic indie rock on first album from Irish-based group the Amazing Pilots, who have toured with Richmond Fontaine

You know that feeling when you stick a CD in the player by an unheard of band and so are not really expecting too much from the album only to be blown away by it? Well, that’s the feeling I got from this debut from the Amazing Pilots. It got off to a bad start actually; track one, ‘Reports From The Brown River’, is 34 seconds of sound which I really don’t want to hear again. Maybe it means something to the band but it seems a pointless half minute. And then the album ends badly; after the "final’" song we are left with 3 minutes of something (distant thunder maybe, no… more like the drone from Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead film heard from the shore) before we are treated to the real final song, the "hidden" track which is actually a really good acoustic ballad. But why, oh why, do artists still do this? At least the Amazing Pilots didn’t stick 5 boring minutes of silence before the song starts which is the norm these days but even so the novelty has worn off now. If the song is good enough to make the album (which in this case it is) then list it on the sleeve and put it in the running order; if it isn’t good enough to make the album proper then leave the bloody thing off! Having got that out of the way then it has to be said that this is a stunning debut album. Familiar with the band only from their contribution to the Lee Hazlewood tribute album ‘Total Lee!’ where they tackled the great man’s ‘Soul’s Island’ and won, and in the process put in one of the best performances of the 16 on offer on that CD even though they were up against artists like Jarvis Cocker, Lambchop, Tindersticks and the rest it was still a surprise that they could deliver 11 songs of such a high calibre. The band was started by Irish brothers Paul (guitars and songwriter) and Phil (drums) Wilkinson and together they have made an album of timeless, classy pop music. Each and every one of the 11 songs has one of those once-heard never-forgotten melodies, unusual sounds weaving in and out (is that a banjo in ‘The Way I See Things’ amongst those strange bubbling sounds and are those angelic vocals from the wonderful Gemma Hayes?) and it’s an album which stands up to, no, actually demands repeated plays. Paul Wilkinson’s vocals are outstanding. There’s emotion in his voice which captures the attention and it’s one of those albums where you stop what you are doing just to listen to it. It’s really hard to offer up any comparisons, harder still to pinpoint what influences this band. For those who like to file their albums in genres then this is going to cause a major headache. This, of course, is just one more of the album’s attractions. It’s a bit like hearing the Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink’ for the first time, a genuine “What is this?” moment. And like that album it is impossible to single out any song as a highpoint. Every track has its own identity, and every time you listen to it another sound is heard which wasn’t there before or another lyric stands out which you missed the last time and hits you right in the heart. It’s an album for all occasions. It has its 3am moments, ‘Dirty Love’ for example, but it’s also the album to have blaring out of the car stereo on those long, hot summer days. Quite simply it’s an album to love. Even the downright weird like ‘Out Across The Bay’, a dreamy psychedelic montage of backwards vocals over another of those outstanding melodies bears repeated listening; that the band can then go straight into a song like ‘Still Not Changed My Mind’, a gorgeous ballad to dip into time and time again and marvel at the sounds this band make, without interrupting the flow of the album just confirms how good this debut is. This album comes highly recommended to any lover of quality pop music; fans of Richmond Fontaine (who the Amazing Pilots have toured with), the Flaming Lips and Sparklehorse will find much to love here. It’s just absolutely stunning.

Track Listing:-
1 Reports From the Brown River
2 All My Wasted Days
3 The Price of Winter
4 I've Got Wings Irene
5 The Way I See Things
6 I Don't Know Where Are You
7 You Make Me Feel Amazing
8 Stupid, I Loved You So
9 Dirty Love
10 Out Across the Bay
11 Still Not Changed My Mind

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