It’s been twelve years since we’ve had any new material from Idiot Pilot, but they’ve returned with a full album’s worth called ‘Blue Blood’. The duo’s third full-length displays them recharged and with an expanded their palette that defies the previous output of Michael Harris and Daniel Anderson.
Taking a gentler pace than expected, ‘Bombs Away’ plays with some shoe gaze conventions, hinged on lush chords and soft vocals, before it evolves into crashing drums and octave runs. Utilising thick layers of electronic programming, the track weaves subtle changes and strong melodies to spearhead the duo’s new and admittedly more mature chapter.
Following up from this, ‘The Pushover’ bridges the gap between this record and their previous release, 2007’s ‘Wolves’. Irregular drum patterns maintain energy underneath hypnotic vocal melodies before a wall of distorted guitars tear through the intimate composition.
Throughout the record, Harris and Anderson take a chameleonic form, flitting between a number of sound and influences, and taking full advantage of the capabilities of the instruments at their disposal. From the jarring piano chords that lead ‘Mammoth’ to the electronica driven ‘Widespread Devastation’, the harmonically rich hooks and energetic percussion hold the various shades of the record together.
Aware of their more post-hardcore led beginnings, ‘Silver Needle’ delves back into crunching guitar chords and snapping snares, before bringing in a punchy piano melody and ambient pads alongside the urgent vocal delivery of “Everyone is beautiful”, ensuring the past is acknowledged and respected but that the present is the focus.
‘Murderous’ also highlights the somewhat heavier side of the record, boasting some claustrophobic drum patterns and a swinging guitar riff that bounces between scale runs and octave chords. A deceptively simple track, the unrestrained energy propels it beyond expectancy.
Ending the journey is ‘Aerospace’ and ‘The Big Sleep’, two songs that strip away the frantic pace of their earlier output and focuses on the melodic and compositional strengths of the duo.
The acoustically led former of the two swerves in and out of electronic bursts and glitch hop influences, as Harris‘ vocal performance swells alongside Anderson‘s intricate programming, whilst restrained soundscapes dominate the latter. Holding onto the vocal melody, the track twists through sparse instrumentation before allowing the tension to explode in its final moments. It’s a slow burning finish to the record, but also a welcome one.
Disinterested with nostalgia, ‘Blue Blood’ is a record on its own terms. Instead of taking the easy route to reintroduce themselves, Idiot Pilot have delivered a strong comeback record to solidify the band that they are, and not the band that they once were.
A short guy, loves all genres, still believes it’s 2005. Watches too much TV.