With shades of Calexico and The Shins, cut with Modest Mouse with Wilco highlights, Blind Pilot quiet slid into my in-box, nearly unnoticed. Until now. What a terrific record.
Lead singer Israel Nebeker is perfectly understated; he’s got an honest voice that is a perfect compliment to Ryan Dobrowski’s musical talents. The duo create understated, seemingly simply songs—and there’s not a bad one here, truly. Lots of folks try to make music like this—gentle, acoustic-based indie rockfolk—and most of them are popular, but leave me cold. (I’m looking at Iron & Wine and Bright Eyes, in particular.) But Blind Pilot have enough depth and soul to break the boundaries of what is typically a mediocre, AM Radio genre, and move into the truly spectacular. There’s not much more I can say about them, except this:
If I’d heard “3 Rounds and a Sound” earlier in ’08, Blind Pilot would have been on my best of 2008 list, for sure.