If you’re looking for your next album to mildly entertain you without taking too much energy, then you’ve come to the right place. Downpilot are back with their sixth studio album, ‘This Is The Sound‘, via Tapete Records. Much of the brainpower behind the record came from Paul Hiraga, who filled the roles of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer. Blimey. Pulling it away from becoming a solo project, however, are Terry de Casto, Mike Musburger and Jeff Brown. You’d think that with all those creative juices flowing, a masterpiece would be born. That’s not the case.
The record has a very eager start with ‘Your Supply’. Here, a hearty guitar is mixed with a delicate ride cymbal to create a determined moodiness, whilst gentle vocals offer a guiding hand. This hopefulness continues with the opening of ‘Historian’. It is punchy and in your face right away, sounding like a divine combination of modern-day indie and 70s rock. Despite this, the track soon becomes classy yet safe. Expectations are certainly high given the promising beginning, but it starts to be a bit dull. Ending almost without a proper ending, you’re almost glad to have made it through.
‘We Just Come And Go’ has a melody that sounds like the musical lovechild of the Backstreet Boys and Ronan Keating. Progressive and harmonious strings lift the song tenfold, allowing it to rise from the rather disappointing ashes of what came before. The delightful vocals are a definite highlight. A soothing number that you’d happily keep listening to.
The creative plateau is hard to ignore, particularly with ‘St. Clair’. This track has a lot to offer; the compositions are intricate and energetic, the lyrics are cleverly constructed. However, in this instance, it is the vocals that let it down. A range in tone wouldn’t go amiss here as the vocals let the track down, sounding bland and uneventful. This is a huge shame because the track has so much potential, but unfortunately the vocals make it a little off-putting.
Just when all hope has been lost, ‘At The Window’ appears. The unexpected inclusion of female vocals here serves to add a dynamic that has been lost up to this point. The strings work their magic once again, elevating the song. Both folk and country come flooding through, showing Downpilot’s ability to experiment and work beyond the confines of any given genre. A warm and welcoming song that is a saving grace for the album.
This album should be amazing. It should blow the mind of anyone who listens to it. But it doesn’t. Perhaps the majority of creative input coming from the same person limited the output. Perhaps too much effort was put into each track’s opening, leaving the middle and end to fend for themselves. Whatever it was, let’s hope Downpilot use this record as a learning curve.