There Should Be an Entry Here

The Pilot Ships

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There Should Be an Entry Here Review

by Ned Raggett

It was to be figured that any album involving a Stars of the Lid member would be moody, meditative, and, generally speaking, pretty darn good. And so it proved true -- the Pilot Ships' first release is an hour-long beauty of a record, one that wisely doesn't try to exactly replicate Stars of the Lid or any of the other parent bands who spawned it. Instead there's a feeling of low-key strumming, a slow and steady rock bash that Low and Codeine wouldn't mind, and moody washes of feedback and other tones -- a blend of attractively separate styles that work well together. With vocals shared out between the performers -- Cheree Jetton's work is especially worthy for being dreamy but not goo-ily so, favoring clear enunciation even while sounding like taking a trip -- the Pilot Ships' songs don't sound so much performed as quietly created, if not on the spot then close enough. "July 6th," with its abrupt ending, and the birdsong-enhanced flow of "A Song by Your Campfire" all help to capture a feeling of gentle interaction and participation by all four members. The home-recording/four-track quality of the songs often works to their advantage, audible tape stops and starts and all; "A Stop Still Remains," with Jetton's slightly echoed voice over wheezing keyboards and drums, is astonishingly lovely. Moments of pure ambience do crop up -- check out the end of "Canteloupe" or, more especially, the nearly half-hour-long concluding track "Looked Over...No Fun Reprise," which rather than using instruments per se compiles field recordings of distant cars and other sounds to set a barely there mood. That there would be an especially minimal and downbeat track called "Fun" (or, alternately, a number called "Pink Noon") seems perfectly in keeping with the album's whole atmosphere.

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