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Tour De Vaap

A compilation of music from 417

Blind Pilot’s first album has and always will have a special place in my music collection.  In the short time since M. Hoff expanded my knowledge of Blind Pilot from a few songs to the entire 3 Rounds and a Sound, that album has easily become one of the top played albums on my iTunes and every song has a place in one playlist or another.  It is a warm, quiet and very emotional album of simple instrumentation and honest lyrics and  I can’t get enough of it.  Therefore, I can’t even describe how excited I was when I heard that Blind Pilot was finally coming out a second album We Are The Tide.

After hearing the album, my first thought was, “This is different.”  The songs are no longer composed of simply an acoustic guitar, quiet drums and a mournful horn section and the band is now made up of more than the two founding members Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski.  For their second album, We Are The Tide, Blind Pilot has expanded into a full fledged band complete with slide guitars, piano, accordion and  female backing vocals to name a few of the new additions.  And with more instruments comes more room to expand sound and style and Blind Pilot have taken full advantage of that by moving from indie folk to genres like rock, country and pop.  The first song, “Half Moon” is a great example of this as a full band performs with a strong drumbeat, violins and a whole chorus of voices creating a sort of pop country song with a Blind Pilot twist.  “Get it Out” could almost be a Jack Johnson song up until the last minute when it the band breaks out into the anthemic repetition of the words “I never wanna call it off.”  But this is not to say that Blind Pilot has forgotten their roots.  Songs like “White Apple” and “New York” retain some of the mellower/folkier side of Blind Pilot and “The Colored Night” could easily be on the first album if it wasn’t for the electric guitar.

So is We Are The Tide as good as the first Blind Pilot album that came out all the way back in 2008?  It’s hard to say.  The band has certainly evolved in sound, style and precision with the addition of new members and a more succinct album production.  I think that, in some ways, this takes away from the comforting sound of the first album.  On 3 Round and a Sound Blind Pilot could have been playing in your bedroom, but We Are The Tide clearly feels like listening to an album.  With this new album Blind Pilot has certainly evolved; whether it’s for the best or not is for you to decide.

You can stream their new album, which came out today, on NPR.

-M. Kauf

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