Dublin band My Pilot have self-identified their style of music as “death-folk-country-noise-pop blues”. This isn’t exactly a helpful indication of what’s in store for the listener but it does kind of make sense when you start to spin their new album ‘For Winter’.
There are elements of each of those styles throughout, but that doesn’t mean that the album switches up dramatically from track-to-track. There is a definite consistency to the sound but the band clearly know how to stitch different styles into the tapestry of the album.
This isn’t exactly a concept album but the title informs the sound of the songs it contains. There is a downbeat, wintry feel to most of the tunes here. This works better on some songs than other.
The opening title track, for instance, ominously introduces itself with a muted guitar riff and lyrics that warn that “the chill is coming”. The song is then graced with plodding drums and icy guitar lines. It suits the theme and the song progresses quite nicely. Following track Monuments is a bit too low-key for its own good though and passes by without leaving much of an impression.
While this hit-and-miss feel does come up again in the album, there are plenty of songs to make this worth your while. Descendants has a lovely central guitar riff and is helped by some fuzzy guitars that build up the noise quotient. The song Kids, with its eerie vocal samples and muted instrumentals sounds almost like the beginning of a Godspeed You Black Emperor! song and there is a similar post-rock feel to a lot of the music here.
Daggers is one of the strongest tracks here, helped by what sounds like a drum sample taken from Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks. Touches like this bring out a more eccentric and energetic feel to My Pilot’s songs, which is when they are at their strongest. Clearly they have a diverse taste, and the album as a whole might have been better served if they decided to follow more of these creative detours.
There are a lot of things in the album worthy of recommendation but it might be a bit too ponderous to reach much of an audience. The vocals are clouded throughout and the instrumentals play it very cool, preventing any of the melodies from really sticking in your head. ‘For Winter’ might serve nicely as the soundtrack to a December evening warming by the fireplace but it might not still be in rotation by the time spring rolls around.