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Strange We Should Meet Here

  Idiot Pilot  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Mr Pharmacist  

There was this series of commercials that played incessantly when I was a kid. In each one, some guy, through contrived accident, got his chocolate into somebody else's peanut butter. Now, outside of the creepy sexual undertones, the message was that two great things go great together. If you're allergic to peanuts, like the kid beside me during the third grade lunch who kept vomiting through his nose during PB and J Tuesday, then it was one great thing and one not so good. This debut from Idiot Pilot is definitely made up of two things that you don't normally expect to be put together. One is IDM inspired ambient/electronic pop courtesy of Daniel Anderson (think Radiohead, post Kid A ), and the other is some guy named Michael Harris screaming (think Nu-metal, Screamo, or the man at the bus stop who's off his meds). Personally, I love the first and work hard to keep from nostril hurling with the second.

The combo of loud and soft has been with us for a while. Nirvana made a mint from it and, I work hard not to shudder, so have all the mook clones that followed. In the right hands, it makes for some spine tinglers. In the wrong, it's annoying and just a little sad. Cue Mr. Fred Durst and company for said sad example.

Unfortunately, this particular combo don't make for good candy. First, it just seems funny. I mean, I couldn't help but giggle. There are moments on this thing where I thought it all might be a joke, sort of like one of those SNL skits that are supposed to annoy you silly.

The disc opens promisingly with a dreamy, catchy number. There are quite a few good tunes, maybe even some excellent ones, to be heard scattered through out the disc. I particularly like the bubbling electronic bits, with a nice hint of pop fizz. But, just when you settle in, get relaxed or start to flow with the melody or groove, that guy starts yelling! It just comes out of nowhere. It's unnerving. Did he wander into the studio off the street and start freaking? Could he be dangerous? Could someone get that guy medicated? After a bit, I'd just be jumpy. I would get all tense, just waiting for him to jump in again when I least expected it. Made me nervous as a Chihuahua. Not a good listening experience.

The most important thing, really, is how it adds up. Does the juxtaposition of these very desperate elements make for profound listening? Do the combo of electronic cloud cushion and bellowing add up to something greater, does it convey a complex feeling that the separate elements miss? To these ears, it's a resounding no on both counts. I just don't see how the two add up to something equal or anywhere near greater than the whole, mainly due to all that yowling.

So, there's a thing or two here for the casual listener. Heck, if you have the know how to edit stuff, it might all be good. For the rest of us (at least me), I'm putting the disc on the shelf so I don't pee myself.

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