Pilot to Gunner

Get Saved

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It's irritating that J. Robbins produced Get Saved, since Pilot to Gunner's barbed and sinewy sound is so tightly wound as to sound so much -- so wonderfully -- like his old band. You don't want P to G's "Hey Carrier" to suggest Jawbox. You want its triumphant power chords and stringy, tensile leads to set up Scott Padden's flinty, strained vocal like it's the first time punk bile found a chord to cause butterflies. Since this is impossible, Pilot to Gunner hiring a Jawbox principal to helm their record is a safe alternative. And what is not possible, but fact, is how strong of an album Get Saved is. After a title track is out of the way, "Metropolitans" drops with its blind corner intonation and -- yes -- touches of keyboard. And that's before one even discovers the melodic Fugazi update of "The Product," or the aforementioned "Carrier"'s electrified bear hug. Such a strong beginning can unwittingly dull an album's later offerings, and Get Saved doesn't quite outrun this. "Downstate" seems to lose its way among the changes, for example. Still, even in their few and far between wayward moments, Pilot to Gunner can cleverly extend a lyrical couplet ("Your stereo wanna know why you got nowhere to go," from "Hot Circuitry") or double, triple unexpectedly on an instrumental phrase (check the beginning of "No-Blooded") to mark with a Sharpie its referential sound as its own. Is this because of their New York City savvy? Probably. But in a waiting room packed with post-punk and such-inspired outfits, Pilot to Gunner has managed to make the unabashedly throwback-minded Get Saved fashionably wiry while staying uniquely economic and stridently urgent. Sound familiar?

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